Thursday, 27 January 2011
Another sparkling and funny novel from Julia Quinn - I believe Book 5 in the Bridgerton Series).
The most appealing part of her work I have read so far is the unusual use of list, little bits and pieces of love letters etc. that she uses throughout. The pace is also generally quick, and more importantly, quick witted.
Following the death of his wife, Sir Phillip Crane enters into a correspondence with her distant cousin, Eloise Bridgerton a spinster the wrong end of 20.
He needs a wife to manage his household, but even more than that somebody to manage his very out of control eight year old twins. From the letters Eloise seems the kind of unassuming and homely girl that would fit the ticket exactly. After a year of correspondence he recommends that she come for a visit and see if they would suit in marriage. She need only let him know and he would arrange a suitable companion.
Obviously, Eloise couldn't marry a man she had never met, so she organised herself the hire of a carriage and hied off during a family ball. She thought she'd left a note for her Mother on the hall table .... she forgot to advise Sir Phillip she was coming!
Therefore he was a more than a little put out on her arrival ..... and proved moody and ill-mannered - the twins proved unruly and very much in need of a mother.
How can all this conclude happily? I hear you thinking ..... well you will just have to read it too ........ but definitely won't be disappointed along the way. A 4.5 ***** Star read - I just need to score some more of the Bridgerton Series (not sure if they are all in print though).
Wednesday, 26 January 2011
It was so nice to read another Loretta Chase work ........... sheer genius ............ I love her style.
Although I have only read two others before, both of which were stories of this hero's brothers.
This time it was the turn of the "Perfect" (and so different from his brothers) Lord Benedict Carsington, heir to the Earl of Hargate and beautiful widow Bathsheba Wingate.
Bathsheba is determined to provide a worthy upbringing for her daughter, but the hoyden Olivia has other ideas.
Bathsheba's first meeting with Benedict is at the British Museum where Olivia lays about his young Nephew, Lord Lisle, with a sketchbook. Things go from bad to worse when the young pair then strike up a clandestine correspondence and run away to find the Disgraceful DeLecey family treasure.
It falls to Benedict and Bathsheba to bring them back without falling into the trap of their own utter attraction to one another, and causing a scandal ......... as if!!!
A wroth 5 ***** Star read as always with this author. I need more of her books, but sadly some of them are out of print and not available at the library, so fingers crossed I can track them down - I especially don't want to miss the stories of the other remaining brothers.
Happy reading - next on my list is a Julia Quinn ....... always a happy event.
Tuesday, 25 January 2011
Another in the Knight Family series, this time about the young brother Lord Jack Knight and Miss Becky Ward.
Lord Alec is the Colonel in Chief of the Lord Rakehells' and comes across the lovely Miss Becky asleep on a friend's door step.
Becky found her way onto that particular door step to shelter from the rain, after fleeing he evil Cousin, Prince Korkov and his terrible Cossack guard.
Now all they need to do is out run them, but will they find happiness?
You will have to read it to find out, but I highly recommend that you do ...... Lord Alec is a delicious piece of work, and he's met his match in the boldly spirited Miss Ward.
A 4 **** Star read.
Next is a Loretta Chase book ....... which I'm inordinately happy to get my hands on .... she's always a good read.
Monday, 24 January 2011
Another in the Knight Family series, this time about the childhood companion of Jacinda Knight, Lizzie Carlisle.
Lizzie Carlisle escaped to the quiet countryside outside Bath when she finally realised the love of her life, Rakehell Alec Knight, would never marry her. She became the companion of the Dowager Lady Strathmore.
However, her peaceful existence is again turned upside down when she writes to her Ladyships errant nephew, the "Devil" Strathmore (Devlin Kimball) telling him that she is dangerously ill. She's appalled that he appears to treat his Aunt to badly, and apparently merely sees her as a pocketbook to draw on for his excesses. The letter should do the trick and teach him a lesson!
The is, of course, another side to the coin and "Devil" has been using the money to lay a trap for the people that were responsible for killing his mother, father and little sister when he was 17.
A truce is called after the first shock and anger of finding out Lizzie's deceit, and they get along famously for a short while. Although inevitably Devlin goes back to his old ways. Lady Stathmore does have a trump up her sleeve upon her death a few weeks later .... and Devlin finds his path to vengeance blocked by Lizzie's passionate and stubborn nature.
Will she also prove oh so tempting enough to bring him to heel and make her his bride?
A 4.5 ***** Star read all around, being so well written. Lovely complex and multi-dimensional characters .... I highly recommend it.
It's a shame that I've missed out the stories in between of Jacinda and her Billy and Lord Damien Knight, but as always these tales can be read independently. Although, I have just started on the story of their younger brother Alec Knight, Lizzie's lost love.
Friday, 21 January 2011
Just finished one of the Gaelen Foley's that has been sitting waiting for me ..... it was a 4.5 ***** Star read and make no mistakes!
I haven't been that much in love with a Hero since Lord Anthony Blake (Stephanie Laurens).
Dark, dangerous and utterly gorgeous Spy Lord Lucien Knight gives the beautiful and virtuous Alice Montague a choice, stay with him and let her Nephew have his Mama, or so and disappoint the poor sick little boy. What would you do?
Secretly utterly fascinated with him Alice stays, and falls under his spell. She finds a tormented man with a whole cavern of secrets, but will she find love?
Read it do .... and then go and find the story of his twin, Damien Knight ..... I just read a small excerpt of that and it looks full of the same kind of promise.
Wednesday, 19 January 2011
Book 18 of The Morland Dynasty
It seems a strange place to start at Book 18 I know, but actually this is a book that my Mother picked up on a library run during the snowy period in December .... and she just grabbed it and hurried back to the warmth of the log burner. In actual fact, she rejected it without reading it ...... I on the other hand, desperate for other authors to read, thought I would give it a go before it went back. I'm so glad I did actually - and proves a point that you should expand your horizons in the literary field.
It couldn't be described as a love story exactly, but there is love found and love betrayed within its pages.
I am now keen to go back and read the other 17 books. Don't worry though as it is perfectly possible to read it as an individual body of work.
Set in 1833 in the height of the industrial revolution it's the story of Morland Place in Yorkshire, the story of Nicholas the owner of Morland Place and his younger brother, Benedit.
Nicholas had banished Bendy for ever, but it seems that the railway fever sweeping the country has brought his brother back to York. Stuck in the past, and hating the railway equally as much as his brother, Nicky in a frenzy of panic (and a certain amount of cunning that goes wrong) marries the sister of a childhood friend to stop any hope that his brother might have of getting his hands on Morland Place.
Since his banishment Bendy has carved out a life, albeit a lonely one, as a Railway Engineer. He falls in love with the beautiful Rosalind Fleetham, but lack of fortune means that he cannot have her. Luckily for him then an old mistress leaves him a vast fortune and he returns to claim Miss Fleetham for his own and assist in the plans to bring the railway to York.
With conflict aplenty, mental illness, depravity fed by a sinister steward and a certain amount of cruelty it's a brilliantly crafted tale. I would highly recommend you give it a try.
A 4 **** Star read.
Sunday, 16 January 2011
I am afraid to say that this book defeated me - I failed to finish it ...... purely because it failed to grab my imagination.
Plus there were so many eye-rolling moments, I kept losing concentration, and thus interest.
Right from the start, I started off being confused by the sheer amount of dialogue, and having to re-read to get the gist and decide who said what. etc. For me personally I like a plot to be established before too much of that goes on.
Also, bearing in mind that this is an Historical romance the language used was too contemporary. Would it not be highly unlikely for a Heroine to have behaved in that way the social restrictions of the age in which it was set? The use of the word "bangs" got me reaching for the final few nails in the coffin of reading it to the bitter end. Don't get me wrong, I am not asking for flowery Georgian phrases all the way through, but try to be realistic about speech of the period that you are writing in. Indeed, I frequently overlook the use of "blocks" when referring to how far away point A was from point B .... we don't have blocks here in England!!!!
Other things that bothered me:
- I'm no Historian, but being English and having grown up with the class system I would most soundly question the fact that even a Scottish Duke (are there any of those apart from Royal ones anyway) would have spoken with such a pronounced accent?
- Even the most self-absorbed Heroines would have noticed that she was heading into the barren waste lands and not going towards London, how much research did the author do on the geographical features in the UK as there is a marked difference between Northmberland and say Northamptonshire Oxfordshire or Berkshire.
- The phrase "put something on the table" most certainly would not have been uttered even 30 years ago let alone in Regency/Victorian England -I couldn't quite decide exactly when the book was set (I do like it when an author actually puts the date at the start, or it is obviously early on by an historical reference i.e. Waterloo, Prinny).
I realise that producing a body of work is a very challenging undertaking, and please don't construe this as disrespectful (we are after all entitled to our own opinions) but I am afraid I have only awarded half * a star because of all of the above. It could be that I have been spoilt by the likes of Liz Carlyle, Mary Balogh, Lisa Kleypas, Stephanie Laurens, Gaelen Foley, Georgette Heyer and Victoria Holt in the past of course........even BLUSH Barbara Cartland (I finished all of her books by the way). Please read it and give me your opinion I would be most interested to hear it.
If I can take away anything from trying to read this book is hope that my own humble efforts might stand a chance of being published.
I have a nice Gaelen Foley waiting for me next ........... although I do wish I could find some more authors of a decent historical calibre.
Wednesday, 12 January 2011
Actually, this story was Simply Perfect in every way .... a 5 ***** Star read, and highly recommended.
The final story in the 'Simply Series' of the severe and spinster Claudia Martin, Founder and Headmistress of Miss Martin's School for Girls, and Josepth Fawcitt, Marquess of Attingsborough (heir to a Dukedom).
He is a perfect gentleman in every way, handsome, rich, titled and she a spinster with an aversion to Dukes, or any aristocrat come to that.
Joseph does have a secret though, one that would dishonour his family. There was a man in her past too that caused her aversion to the elevated title, plus dealings with the Bedwyn family that she finds it difficult to overcome ... can they come together in a simply perfect match.
You will have to read it to find out, but know this .... I cried for a full 5 minutes at the end of this one.
Monday, 10 January 2011
I've just finished wiping away the last of the very happy tears that have been shed culminating with the end of this book. A 5 ***** star read for one of the "Slightly" series.
Miss Frances Allard spent her Christmas leave from Miss Martin's School for Girls with her Great-Aunts, but was caught up on her return journey in very bad, and typically English, snowy weather.
A thoughtless driver passes the old family carriage she is driving in, and then causes it to crash. The driver, Lucius Marshall (Viscount Sinclair), then goes on to rescue her from the ditch and take her off to safety. Although safety is a relative term, as it is in fact to a lonely country inn. The innkeeper and his missus having departed for Christmas, leaving the place in the care of a lazy servant.
When the weather clears he takes Frances back to Bath, and proposes she come to London with her. She rightly refuses and Lucian goes on his way to fulfill his promise to his Grandfather to marry that year. They both presume that that will be the last of what was a very pleasant interlude.
Unfortunately, forgetting for both of them proves difficult, and Lucius travels back to Bath with his Grandfather so that he can sample the waters for his ill-health. Meanwhile, Francis is invited to sing at a soiree.
The pair meet again, and Lucius and his Grandfather are enthralled by her voice. This time Lucius ask her to marry him, but is refused, and they again go their separate ways. This time it is even more impossible to forget each other though.
Back in London Lucius plots with the Great-Aunts help to bring Frances to London. This is somewhere she left 3 years earlier and had sworn never to to back. Without her knowing, she is tricked into singing to a larger audience that she thought, and is offered the coveted help of Lord Heath to launch her singing career. This chance is turned down, and so is another offer from Lucius, as she still has some dark secrets, which she thinks would not make her an acceptable pride for such a family .... she would only have him if his family gave their blessing. So back off to Bath she goes.
At the end of the School year a concert is arranged, and the whole of Lucius's family turn out to watch it as a show of their acceptance in the match, and Lucius finally wins the day in a very public proposal.
So, it cannot be denied that fate played a massive part in this tale, for if they had not both travelled that road at the same time, then they would never have met and never have fallen in love.
Read it do, you won't be disappointed - it's a very happy tear jerker of a book.
but I have promised myself that once I've finished 2 projects, and done some paperwork and accounts that I can get on with the Mary Balog (one of the "Slightly" series) that is calling my name from the bedroom.
I haven't got the school run this afternoon, as Mum will do it on her way back from Italian lessons.
I haven't got the school run this afternoon, as Mum will do it on her way back from Italian lessons.
Saturday, 8 January 2011
This shouldn't have been called "Slightly" Wicked, far from it ............. Completely Depraved Wanton might have been a better title to describe what Miss Judith Law got up to early on in the book.
She has had to leave home (probably for good) to live with her wealthy Aunt Effingham due to the excesses of her selfish young Brother, Branwell. Of the 4 sisters, it was her who volunteered to go. In actual fact, she knew that in all probability she would be acting as unpaid servant, and treated shabbily, as was so often the cases in those days.
With very little money, and travelling on the stage, there is an accident and it overturns. A heroic stranger (Ralf Bedard) offers to take her on to the next inn, as help would be many hours away. She accepts, but somewhere along the way she loses all sense and involves herself in one reckless night of passion, thus also losing her virtue and reputation. At least she will have something to dream about now to carry her through the dreary days as a companion.
He wants her to go away with him for a time, but she comes to her senses whilst he is off looking for a carriage to take them on, and runs away. Eventually making her way to her Aunt's home, Harewood Grange just in time for a large houseparty.
A big shock, however, is in store for her as one man of the party, Lord Rannulf Bedwyn arrives to woo her cousin. The very same Ralf Bedard who had bedded her just days before.
He makes honourable and dis-honourable advances to her, so does Aunt Effingham's oily step-son, but she holds firm against them. But scandal rocks the household when she is accused of stealing a vast quantity of jewels. The only thing she can think of to do is run .... but Rannulf pursues her to help here clear her name.
Is it possible that love can grow out of a something that started off slightly wicked?
I think as the last one in the Slightly series that needed reading there were marvellously layered examples of a hero and heroine. It was thoroughly enjoyable, and a highly recommended 4.5 ***** Star read. As it was some time ago I read the story of Wulfic, Duke of Bewcastle and his Christine, I think I will go back at some point very soon and re-read it. Actually, I think that I will miss this series a lot.
Friday, 7 January 2011
Colonel Lord Aidan Bedwyn's life was saved to years previously by a young officer, but Percy Morris has never intended to call in that particular debt.
However, having taken a dreadful hit during another battle, Aidan found him just before he lost his fight to survive. Percy called in the debt, and asked him to take the news to his sister personally, that she should not mourn him, or wear black .... and more importantly he made Colonel Lord Aidan promise to protect her no matter what, he was quite definite about that ..... NO MATTER WHAT.
Therefore a few months later when Aidan returned home to England's green and pleasant lands on leave he travelled first to Ringwood Manor to carry out Percy's last wish.
Once there he finds that Eve Morris wants not part of his protection. Eventually he comes to realise that Percy's no matter what meant, when he discovers that she will be left destitute - along with all the various lame ducks by way of children, ex convicts, village idiots and injured ex-solders she has given homes to.
Aidan offers her a straightforward business arrangement - a marriage of convenience .... she will have the protection of his name, and he will go back to his duties as an cavalry commander. They have, however, failed to recognise that there is an ever growing, and unwilling attraction between them.
Will they ever be more than just slightly married in this poignant tale of two socially diverse people.
It was nice to see that Eve made a tiny chip in the ice exterior of Wulfric, Duke of Bewcastle along they way. A 3.5**** star read, but read it you must to piece together the whole of the mighty Bedwyn dynasty.
Book 2 of Inferno Club
Rohan Kilburn, Duke of Warrington,has a formidable and rugged presence, lives in a brooding and reputedly haunted castle in Cornwall. Added to that he bears the nickname "The Beast", and is a top assassin for the Order. Any woman that has ever known him, and there have been legions of them, will also attest to another reason he is called "The Beast". He is immune to love for all that.
After many years away serving the needs of the Order, he returns to Kilburn Castle to bring his errant tenants back into line. To appease The Beast they give him a present of a beautiful young woman ..... to warm his bed.
Kate Maden is definitely no harlot, but an innocent victim of a kidnapping plot by the Prometheans. She's shy and intelligent with a fiery temper and beguiling eyes.
They have to work together to solve the reason behind her kidnap, defeat the evil Promethean scum, find the Alchemist's Tomb and unravel the truth behind the curse of the Dukes of Warrington, all of which could destroy them both.
Before long attraction ignites and there is a rush against time to shatter the curse so that they can be together.
I didn't feel that this second book in the Inferno Club series quite met the delights of the first one, but it came very close nonetheless. All in all a 4 **** Star read. I'm not certain Book 3 has even been written yet, but fingers crossed it will be Jordan's story.
Thursday, 6 January 2011
I'm on my luch break, and just doing a quick bit of research to find out about Book 3 in the Inferno Club series, and have just run into the trailers ..... I'm all about the trailers these days, probably because they show the kind of glory an actual film or dramisatation could reap. Enjoy:
I've just found the trailers for both Book 1 and 2, so am off to watch those now.
I've just found the trailers for both Book 1 and 2, so am off to watch those now.
Book 1 of the Inferno Club
A new author for me, and I have to say I now know why my Mother was raving.... Fabulous story, even more fabulous and totally to fall in love with bunch of Heros' all Members of the infamous and scandalous Inferno Club, which is a cover for a Secret Order.
The first book cover the story of Max, Marquess of Rotherstone and the patron stain of newcomers into the ton, Daphne Starling.
Max has decided to restore his family's good name and scandal is surrounding her, since she has become known as a jilt.
Max is totally fascinated by her and sets out to prove the Society gossips wrong. What will he do to win her hand though, and show her that even the most wicked marquess can reform..... you'll have to read it to find out, but I am confident that you won't fail to be completely won over by these books.
I am reaching for Book 2, The Wicked Duke as soon as I have finished this review.
A 5 ***** Stars from me.
Monday, 3 January 2011
Christmas Eve at Friday Harbour by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the first contemporary book I've read by Lisa Kleypas, and actually enjoyed it ........... in fact, it was short but sweet.
Mark Nolan is left the custody of his six year old niece, Holly, when her mother is killed in a car accident, and he takes here home to San Juan Island in Washington State to live with him. Unfortunately, due the shock of the accident Holly has lost the ability to speak.
Mark's brother, Sam, stumbles upon a letter to Santa that Holly has written asking her to bring her a new Mummy, so Mark decides to kiss goodbye to his bachelorhood and find her just that.
One afternoon Mark and Holly go into a new toy shop in town, and the owner (Maggie Conroy) helps the little girl find her voice again with talk of magic fairies and a magic shell.
There seems to be an instant spark of attraction between Mark and Maggie, the only problem being that he is seeing somebody else and she had only recently seen and nursed her husband when he died of cancer.
Can the little girl's dream come true? Can they win the battle for love and a happy ever after?
Definitely worth a read, I enjoyed it quite a bit, given that I am not really a contemporary read kind gal.
A 3.5 Star read,but not quite a 4.
Buy it at Amazon HERE.
The Toll-Gate by Georgette Heyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Always a delight to dip back into the world of Georgette Heyer. I cut my reading teeth on her fabulous work, and so was delighted to be handed an old copy by my Aunt the other day.
I seriously consider her novels "classic reading".
This one is delightful, and packed to the rafters with cant language .................. so entertaining, definitely worth a read.
Captain 'Crazy Jack' John Staple late of the Dragoon Gaurds, and seasoned campaigner in the Peninsula has returned home from Waterloo. Living in peacetime is rather dull for this giant of a man, and he gets himself into one or two adventures, so his friends are well used to him by now.
This time he finds himself lost on a terrible night, ending up at an unmanned toll-house in the Pennines. There is a small and terrified boy who needs his help, so he decides to stay for a lark and man the toll until the boy's father returns.
He also finds a woman along the way that steals his heart, which has never been given away before.
A 4 star read with loads of humour.
Buy it at Amazon HERE.
I've been waiting to read this middle book in the One, Two, Three trilogy for want of a better way to describe them.
Quin Hewitt has lead a rakish and devil may care existence since he was released on London as a callow youth. At the age of 20 he fell in love with an Opera Singer, Viviana Alessandri. He refused to marry her, and she went back to Italy to become the Contessa Bergonzi di Vicenza very shortly afterwards.
Eventually he succeeds to an earldom, and is under pressure to find a wife. So engages himself to Esme Hamilton, and a small family dinner is arranged to celebrate the happy event.
Meanwhile, Viviana returns to England with Quin's uncle (to work on an opera with her Father's long time friend and Uncle to Quin). She inadvertently accepts an invitation to a small family dinner, not putting two and two together.
Both come face to face, and one thing leads to another, with Quin and Vivie and found in a very compromising position across his desk by Esme. She rightly calls off the engagement and goes home.
Will the old resentments held by both of them be resolved, and will they find love. Will Quin find out the reason by Vivie's sudden departure back home to marry the Conte?
A very enjoyable and 4 **** star read.
Sunday, 2 January 2011
The last book in 2010, but only just got a chance to update the details on here.
This is the 5th Book in the Hathaway series, and I found it completely enjoyable. With quite a few heart churning and breath catching moments in it. The story of the youngest Hathaway Sister, Beatrix, a free-spirited girl with a love of natural history and animals. She had a couple of Seasons in London, and whilst men seemed to like her, the unconventional lifestyle of the Hathaway Clan never managed to ensure that a suitable mate would offer for her.
Christopher Phelan once told everyone that she was more suited to the stables than the ton in fact, so how did they end up together?
Christopher planned to marry Beatrix's friend, Prudence when he returned from fighting in the Crimea, and had arranged to write to her via his Sister-in-law, Audrey. However, Prudence a shallow, conceited and self-absorbed lady really couldn't find any need to write back to him. Beatrix was horrified and begged her friend to let her reply on his behalf.
Somewhere along the way those letters turned into love letters, and Beatrix wrote breaking off contact.
Christopher eventually returned a war hero, and determined to claim the girl he had irrevocably fallen in love, but soon realises that the Prudence in the letters is far from the reality of Prudence the girl.
What began as an innocent deception turns into agony and unfulfilled love for them both.
A 4.5 ***** Star read.
I've actually started reading another Liz Carlyle book,but it will span the 2010/2011. Therefore I will count in next year's reading total. I have been thinking about how I will keep track as well, and decided the best way forward was to keep the running #no. at the top of each post, but then add a (#no.) brackets for the total for the current year. That way I will know if I make the 144 challenge in 2011.
Happy reading all.