I have a soft spot for plain-faced heroines, I admit. Whether she be the socially awkward spinster who suddenly finds herself the belle of the ball or be she the proverbial "ugly duckling" who transforms into a lovely swan - I adore them all. There's nothing quite like reading about a homely heroine who finds her own "happily ever after".
A Practical Arrangement by author Nadja Notariani tells the story of Evangeline Grey, a plain faced woman who makes up for what she lacks in beauty with sensibility and propriety. Having experienced pain, both physical and emotional, at the hands of her emotionally unbalanced mother - Evangeline has sworn off marriage.
Thomas Masterson, a second son and known rake, learns that in order to gain his inheritance he must marry - and soon. Reluctant though he may be to give up his carefree lifestyle, Thomas is even more reluctant to give up his inheritance and so he sets his mind on coming up with an arrangement of sorts that will be beneficial to both he and Miss Grey.
Nadja Notariani adds such depth to the characters found within the pages of this book. I found myself endeared to the character of Evangeline who suffered bouts of anxiety whenever someone would touch her. She couldn't even tolerate the embrace of her beloved sister, Melody, without tensing within her arms. I loved this and how it made her seem more real to me! This was an affliction that was borne out of a legitimate fear and to watch as Thomas discovered this fear and started Evangeline on her path to healing was beautiful. Simply beautiful.
Thomas wasn't without his own demons to face. As the second son, Thomas often felt like he lived in the shadows of his older brother who could do no wrong in their father's eyes. After a bit of sibling rivalry turns deadly, Thomas finds himself engulfed in grief and loses himself in a hedonistic lifestyle. Only within the arms of his sweet Evie does he begin his own healing process.
There are a cast of secondary characters that truly add dimension to this tale. There's Melody, Evangeline's recently widowed sister who finds herself in an affair of sorts with Masterson's friend, Mr. Lane. Albert Grey and Winston Platte, matchmakers extraordinaires. Of course no good story is complete without a vindictive mistress and Augusta Preston plays her role quite well. There are many more characters I wish I had time to mention as they were all written so well but none quite stand out to me as much as Opal Grey, Evangeline's mother. I despised this woman from the first mention of her name throughout. Uuuggh! The way she constantly overlooked Evangeline and put her down in favor of Melody and then to actually be the cause of most of Evangeline's distress - there was no redeeming quality to be found about her whatsoever! I really hoped she would get a proper setting down by either Thomas or her own husband or someone but it was never forthcoming and for that I was greatly disappointed. Yes, I understood quite well that she suffered from bouts of depression but I literally wanted to strangle her myself!
Nadja Notariani's style of writing is quite reminiscent of that of Jane Austen and I would not hesitate to read another title of hers. All in all, A Practical Arrangement is indeed every bit as good as I thought it would be and I would highly recommend it. (less)
When I first heard that "The Sweetest Kiss" by Marie Higgins was a 'clean' romance - I initially thought this meant it was an inspirational/Christian...moreWhen I first heard that "The Sweetest Kiss" by Marie Higgins was a 'clean' romance - I initially thought this meant it was an inspirational/Christian romance. I've since come to learn that a 'clean' romance is one where the developing romance between the hero and heroine is favored over the sexual tension and love scenes. In other words, it was 'sweet'.
I loved the beginning when Lady Judith Faraday sneaks out of her home to meet her fiance, Alex, and runs into the 'highway men' instead. I laughed til I almost cried! Judith is a very likable heroine, a bit childish acting at times, but likable all the same. The measures she took to capture Trey's attentions and dissuade her other suitors were clever and amusing.
Trey Worthington...I really liked him. He was the perfect combination of rogue and gentleman. I did find his hesitation to give his heart to Judith understandable at first but after awhile I wanted to scream, "Get over yourself already!" so he and Judith could begin their happily ever after.
My favorite character however was Trey's best friend, Nic. I am so hoping he has his own story coming out...and soon!
Although "The Sweetest Kiss" is classified as a clean romance, it is very sensual at times. However, this does not dissuade from the reading of the novel at all. In fact, it only adds to the level of feeling that Judith and Trey feel for one another. It's sensual yet very tasteful.
I would recommend this novel to fans of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice or Emma. (Originally Reviewed for Not Now...Mommy's Reading)(less)
I am a sucker for the "bad girls" of historical romances. Give me the less-than-coy courtesan or the worldly widow over the trembling virgin any day....moreI am a sucker for the "bad girls" of historical romances. Give me the less-than-coy courtesan or the worldly widow over the trembling virgin any day. Lady Amelia Kentley, the heroine in what appears to be Juliet Chastain’s debut novel, The Captain and The Courtesan, doesn’t quite fall into either category. Having fallen on hard times after the death of her husband, Amelia makes the difficult decision to join the oldest female profession--in order to feed and clothe herself and her young son. Posing as the Lady M, she will be auctioned off to the highest bidder who will win the luxury of bedding a noblewoman turned courtesan. The night prior to her debut, Amelia meets newly appointed sea captain Edward Howland who doesn’t support the idea of a woman prostituting herself for any means. When he's dragged to a brothel by his inebriated comrades to celebrate his promotion, Edward meets the mysterious Lady M and is instantly enchanted by her. What follows is an endearing romance that will make many readers instant fans of author Juliet Chastain.
Although it was listed as an erotic historical, The Captain and The Courtesan reads more as a sweet romance with love scenes that were more sensual than erotic. I loved that most of the story took place in a brothel and there was a great deal of interaction with the madam who ran the brothel. As I previously stated, I’m more drawn to heroines of a more sullied nature so the story was a tad too "sweet" to be one of my favorites, but it is definitely a novel I would highly recommend. Beautifully written with characters that seem to leap off the pages, The Captain and The Courtesan is why I have such a great love for historical romances. (Originally reviewed for Risque Reviews)(less)
**spoiler alert** Georgia Fox can write erotica. Her The Ever Knight is no exception. My first read by Fox was The Wagered Wench which I absolutely LO...more**spoiler alert** Georgia Fox can write erotica. Her The Ever Knight is no exception. My first read by Fox was The Wagered Wench which I absolutely LOVED!!! It was also my first novel involving a ménage (MFM). I'm not even sure I have the abbreviations right because I didn't know novels like this existed! My best friend had mentioned ménages in the books she was reading, but these seemed to be geared towards the paranormal romances and usually involved were's and packs and other animals. But a medieval novel featuring a headstrong heroine and two of the most drool-worthy men you could ever have the pleasure of reading about?! Say it isn't so! But it is, and I'm now a fan of Georgia Fox for turning me on (pun intended) to this genre!
While the ménage in The Wagered Wench featured a man who had won the heroine in a bet and another man who she had been previously promised to and involved both men constantly battling one another for her attentions until finally allowing her the choice of either, the ménage in The Ever Knight featured two brothers who were willing to share the heroine. And, for this reason, I found it to be lacking. I don't know…But I like my alpha males to be the jealous over-protective sort who might forgive a tryst with another man as long as he was included in the activities, but he would never willingly share her with another man on a regular basis. Nope. Not my guys. They would sooner abandon the situation and confine themselves to a life of lonely solitude, yearning after the heroine or annihilate the competition, before they would knowingly and willingly share her with another man. However, I would definitely recommend this short read, The Ever Knight, to anyone looking for a hot well-written read as well as the rest of Fox's Conquerors series. (Originally Reviewed for Risque Reviews)(less)
I was pretty sure this book would be given a 5-star rating but find myself wavering between a 3-star or 4-star rating instead. The book started out gr...moreI was pretty sure this book would be given a 5-star rating but find myself wavering between a 3-star or 4-star rating instead. The book started out great! I absolutely LOVED the premise of a man working in a brothel that catered to women. Quite unique and rather believable. Grace was a likeable enough character and Alex was swoon-worthy from start. The scene where they meet one another for the first time - Hilarious!
However, the longer the story went on I found myself rushing to get to the end because I grew tired of the constanst "angst" the two felt concerning their relationship - especially Alex. Yes, I understood he felt trapped but one minute he seeks escape to be with Grace and then the next he feels that she deserves better than a whore so he turns her away. It was all rather tiresome after awhile.
I would like to read more about Gideon however. I was quite intrigued by the "warrior" whore.(less)
Enjoyable read. I really like that the issue of Post-Tramautic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was addressed.
This might have gotten a higher rating from me but...moreEnjoyable read. I really like that the issue of Post-Tramautic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was addressed.
This might have gotten a higher rating from me but lately I find the sugary sweet romances a bit lacking to me. Maybe because my RL lack of romance and passion keeps interfering with my "mental vacations" when I try to lose myself in a good romance novel. I want to lose myself in the sweetness of the romance but that part of me that once believed in HEA and chivalry and true love is slowly dying. *le sigh
If only the men found between the pages of our favorite romance novels truly existed...OH WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD THAT WOULD BE!
But alas, I find myself in the company of a man who thinks foreplay is asking why am I wearing clothes to bed. *blank stare