Alexander Barclay, the ninth Duke of Kress, has no recollection of what went on last night. After waking up with a splitting headache and coming to thAlexander Barclay, the ninth Duke of Kress, has no recollection of what went on last night. After waking up with a splitting headache and coming to the conclusion that all the other Dukes he partied with the night before are in the same predicament that he is, he knows that nothing good must have happened the night before. When their night of debauchery is described in full detail in the paper, he comes to learn that not only has he lost his fortune in a bet that he doesn't even remember, but he has made Prinny very upset.
Now banished to the country, Prinny has ordered that Alex get two things accomplished, first restore his ancestral home/castle back to its former glory and secondly, that he find himself a bride. No easy feat since, firstly, he's broke and, secondly, he has no interest in settling down.
This was so fun!! Very refreshing and entertaining - full of moments that caused me to laugh out of loud... which is no easy task. I found Alex, Roxanne, Alex's great-aunt and all the other Dukes to be an uproariously funny bunch. The situations were fun, the characters were quirky and the dialogue was delightful. Ms. Nash's start to her "Royal Entourage" series is a hit. I've read that the movie "The Hangover" was an inspiration for this series and I can definitely appreciate a story line like that. I cannot wait to see what she has in store for the remaining Dukes. Sheer pleasure to read!...more
Once Upon a Wicked Night is a short novella that takes place right after Confessions of an Improper Bride and gives you insight into the first chapterOnce Upon a Wicked Night is a short novella that takes place right after Confessions of an Improper Bride and gives you insight into the first chapters of Secrets of an Accidental Duchess. In it you first meet Olivia as she is introduced to society by her older sister and brother-in-law, the Earl and Countess of Stratford. It has been seven years since Jonathan and Serena were discovered in a compromising situation and Jonathan is convinced that they should start up right where they left off (wink-wink). Olivia on the other hand is impressed when she meets Marquis of Fenwicke, but when a waltz and an accidental moment where they are alone turns into something sinister it'll be up to her quick thinking to get herself out of a perilous situation - making an enemy in the process.
This was such a quick read and fans of the series will enjoy this short glimpse into the lives of Jonathan and Serena and be enchanted by their first introduction of Olivia. Although it's not necessary to read, I do recommend it as it gives some explanation as to the first chapters of Secrets of an Accidental Duchess. Lovely and captivating and short enough that you won't want to miss it....more
A Steampunk - Zombie - YA novel?! Be still my heart. I was thrilled to see three genres that I enjoy all rolled up into one. Even more interesting thaA Steampunk - Zombie - YA novel?! Be still my heart. I was thrilled to see three genres that I enjoy all rolled up into one. Even more interesting than the genre mix, I also found it surprising that although the year is 2195, society is living in a Victorian society while using technology that we can only dream of having.
There were many things I liked about Dearly, Departed.... the earlier paragraph for instance. I enjoyed the world building, the zombies, the characters, etc. I liked Nora and Bram - and their unique romance. You know, it is a first for me to find a girl in love with a zombie. I even enjoyed reading of the war with the Punks. But it took me almost 200 pages to actually get into the story. The first chapter was awesome but I had a hard time fully getting immersed in the story... I'm not really sure why, I just felt that I had to try to hard. I think the main problem might have been the oh-so-many points-of-view. Even more disconcerting was the fact that they are told in the first person. And although the characters differ in age and sex, I still found myself wondering several times whose chapter it was that I was reading. While I do enjoy a book told using various perspectives, I found that five different narrators (Bram, Nora, Pam, Wolfe, and Victor) may have been a bit much. The Wolfe and Victor chapters quite frankly felt unnecessary. I found that those story lines could have been told using other methods and cutting down on the constant character changes and possibly in my confusion.
All in all, I found Dearly, Departed to be a good start to the series. While I didn't love it and most likely will not run out to immediately buy the next installment in the series, I will undoubtedly get around to reading it....more
America Singer leaves her home behind to compete against 35 other girls for none other than winning the heart of her country’s prince. While this bookAmerica Singer leaves her home behind to compete against 35 other girls for none other than winning the heart of her country’s prince. While this book is somehow compared to The Hunger Games, all I kept thinking about was The Bachelor. Full of makeovers, interviews, dates with the Prince, and the inevitable girls being voted off, all while the Prince of Iléa. narrows down his selection to the one girl who will be his future wife and Queen of Iléa.
I loved the dystopian aspects of the novel (don’t I always?) - the story opens with some insight into America and her family, which was vital in order to understand the caste system in this future world. Families are labeled by caste depending on their career and income while all future family members continue to be labeled with the same caste (career, income, etc.). Neat concept if you ask me. While I was interested in the dystopian-ness of the story, I was not too thrilled with the story overall. I would also like to note, that I did not base my review on any of the author’s antics or mean-spirited commentary with a fellow reviewer(s).
America Singer (ugh – that name! – and she does sing, just in case you were wondering) was an unremarkable heroine. While likeable and very talented (not only did she sing, but she also knew various languages and played several instruments), there was really nothing about her that stood out. I originally looked forward to the competition between the selected girls (because yes, I am a fan of The Bachelor/Bachelorette) – but there was no cattiness or raunchy behavior. Instead I found the girls to be dull. I was thinking maybe The Hunger Games comparison came from the girls duking it out on random competitions (think Survivor) where the last man (or in this case woman) standing was the winner – but that wasn’t the case either.
I found the writing was juvenile at times. I would have liked to understand more of the political background and less of the characters and their personal lives, but it seems the author and I were not on the same page. I also thought it was wordy – in fact, too wordy at times.
Fans of reality television and dystopians (those with a lighter edge to them) may enjoy this one. Sadly, I was not a fan and do not plan on continuing with this series. ...more
Michael, the Marquess of Bourne, lost everything one night in a game of cards. Ten years later, he has not only surpassed the wealth he lost, but he iMichael, the Marquess of Bourne, lost everything one night in a game of cards. Ten years later, he has not only surpassed the wealth he lost, but he is also one of the owners of an exclusive gaming hell called The Fallen Angel. Bent on revenge and the need to gain back all he has lost, he finds that he cannot pass up the chance at winning back his ancestral home, he'll do anything it takes to get it back, even if it means acquiring a wife in the process. Lady Penelope Marbury understands that spinsterhood awaits her. She's dealt with a broken engagement and boring courtships that have left her pining for something more. When her childhood friend Michael, whisks her away one night promising adventure and the illicit pleasures of the London underworld, she finds his promises too hard to resist.
Sarah MacLean can do no wrong!! I love and own everything she's ever written for a reason... she's awesome!! Her books are awesome!! Her characters are awesome!! Need I say more?
As a big fan of Ms. MacLean's Love By Numbers series, I was overjoyed to learn that she would have a breakout series - The Rules of Scoundrels:
"Four scoundrels, each whispered about in ballrooms across London. Four aristocrats, each exiled from society, now royalty in the London underworld. Four loves, powerful enough to tame the darkness... and bring these fallen angels back into the light."
Michael and Penelope were wonderful. Michael was dark and brooding - he's tormented, sarcastic and jaded (I love 'em like that!) and treats Penelope at arms length. He's a man with one thing on his mind... revenge, and nothing will stand in the way of him avenging himself. Penelope is feisty and witty and so full of life. I loved how proper she was even when Michael had her at her wits end.
I adore stories of childhood friends becoming lovers and I especially loved reading Penelope and Michael's letters at the beginning of each chapter. I think it was splendidly done how you get to know their past through their letters without getting full chapters reminiscing on their time as children growing up.
As with all her characters, Ms. MacLean makes you fall head over heels for them. Michael and Penelope's love story was swoon worthy. Michael was such a tormented character - it was hard not to feel as emotionally wrought out as Penelope was when it came to her feelings for him.
These are the types of characters you become invested in - feeling their hurts and joys just as much as they do. Their happily-ever-after was a hard one to come by which made it even sweeter in the end.
I cannot wait to see what Ms. MacLean has up her sleeves for the other three scoundrels in the series. I shall anxiously be awaiting the next in the series - One Good Earl Deserves a Lover. eeek!...more
Nine years ago, seven year-old Ethan was abducted while playing in his front yard and he has finally been reunited with his family. While the family tNine years ago, seven year-old Ethan was abducted while playing in his front yard and he has finally been reunited with his family. While the family tries to make everything as "normal" as possible for Ethan, the fact that he's been gone for nine years makes it hard on everyone. Not to mention Ethan's memory loss of anything prior to his abduction doesn't really help either.
I found it hard to really like anyone in this story. Ethan has not had an easy time growing up. He lived with his abductor for some years, and then she just ups and drops him off at a childrens' home which he eventually runs away from and ends up living in the streets. I get that life hasn't been peachy for him, but he just ends up being too rough and sarcastic for me to actually like. His parents, although they may be trying hard to have him fit in, didn't try hard enough for me and his younger brother, Blake, feels that Ethan isn't even the real Ethan but an imposter trying to impersonate him. If anything, my favorite of the characters was Ethan's six year-old sister Grace, whom he calls the "replacement child" since she was born a year after his abduction.
The mystery of Ethan made it a quick read. The chapters flew by as the intrigue of whether or not Ethan was... well Ethan, made for a fast paced read. But the ending killed it for me. I hate shocker endings that leave you with more questions than answers and, sadly, Dead to You has one of those frustrating endings that I just could not overlook. I felt as if my book were missing a couple of chapters at the end.
I'm not sure if Ms. McMann will be writing a sequel to Dead to You and, if she does, I can't honestly say if I'd even bother to read it. While I would like to know more about Ethan and what happens after Dead to You's shocking ending, I can't say I liked him enough to really want to know more....more
Riley's adventures in the Here & Now continue. In this third installment, Riley is suffering the repercussions of having helped restless souls intRiley's adventures in the Here & Now continue. In this third installment, Riley is suffering the repercussions of having helped restless souls into crossing over without the Council's permission (see Shimmer). The Council has spoken and the verdict was harsher than expected. They've decided that Riley needs time to "grow" and the best way to accomplish that is for her to take a break from soul catching. With no friends aside from Bodhi and Buttercup, Riley feels alone and lost. Luckily she learns about dreamweaving and finds herself on her next adventure... this time, trying to make contact with her sister, Ever.
The thought of being 12... forever, is a hard one to come to grips with, and Riley is having a hard time dealing with it. She wants to turn 13, to finally be a teenager, and when she learns that that is a possibility for her, she wants nothing more than to "grow"... but turning 13 is harder than it seems, especially since she's dead.
Riley is the still the carefree and brave young woman we have all come to know and love. While she still acts like her 12 year old self - throwing trantrums and not giving much thought to consequences beyond the moment, she is finally coming into herself. I loved seeing how she matured as well as the many life lessons she learned throughout the story.
I thought this was a great installment to the series. Not my favorite in the series but a good one nonetheless....more
Olivia Donovan has been brought up sheltered and protected by her family. While living on a small island in the West Indies she contracted Malaria asOlivia Donovan has been brought up sheltered and protected by her family. While living on a small island in the West Indies she contracted Malaria as a child and has since been plagued by a recurrence of the fevers. Now at twenty-one, she knows that no man would fall for a frail woman and has therefore resigned herself to the fact that she will be the “spinster aunt”. But when Max Buchanan promises a no-strings attached romance, becoming the “disgraced spinster aunt” might not be so bad after all.
As with all of Ms. Haymore’s novels (and yes, I’ve read them all) you cannot go wrong with her books. Her heroines are always brave and witty and her leading men are dark and swoon-worthy. I especially loved Olivia - she was such a carefree young woman. I liked that she didn’t overdo or dwell on things. She saw a hurdle and she pretty much just jumped over it. She was never frail or timid in my eyes (nor Max’s for that matter). Max was all that I look for in a leading man. I loved how he is portrayed as dark, big and brawny compared to the petite Olivia. But don’t let the cover or its short synopsis fool you. Aside from the sweet romance you’ll find there’s a lot going on in this novel. I could not sit still with everything that was going on – from the worry of Olivia’s illness, the wager on her seduction, several kidnappings, sultry love scenes and one of the vilest villains I’ve read in a long time. Needless to say, I devoured this one quite rapidly.
All in all, Secrets of an Accidental Duchess is a wonderful addition to the series. I loved how we get to see more about the lives of Serena and Jonathan (Confessions of an Improper Bride) as well as foresee who the next characters in the upcoming book will be (Pleasures of a Tempted Lady – releasing August 2012). I personally cannot wait. Ms. Haymore has proven herself once again and has earned the honor of being a permanent staple in my Historical Romance shelf....more