I've been waiting (what seems like forever, but in fact, only several months) for Married by Morning - Lisa Kleypas fourth installment into her Hathaw...moreI've been waiting (what seems like forever, but in fact, only several months) for Married by Morning - Lisa Kleypas fourth installment into her Hathaways series. My favorite character in this series, Leo Hathaway (or Lord Ramsay) and his story are the focal point of this book and my only complaint is to it being too short and to how fast I devoured it.
Leo Hathaway is the eldest of the eccentric Hathaway family. It's only been a couple of years since inheriting the tittle of Viscount Ramsay due to a series of unfortunate events and Leo Hathaway, has only recently decided to embrace his position. He use to be an unbearable rake and completely self destructive until his trip to Paris with his younger sister, Win. Paris agreed with him incredibly well and allowed him the time and space he needed to come to terms with the loss of his first love, Laura, to Scarlett fever four years ago. Leo is a passionate man, loving and grieving with such ferociousness that it consumes him completely. Upon returning home from Paris, Leo learns of a new governess and companion for his sisters, Poppy and Beatrix, hired by the eldest sister, Amelia, to teach the unconventional Hathaways how to be have in polite society. Upon the first meeting of Catherine Marks, Leo takes away from the experience an unnerving need to throttle her. He dislikes her immediately, however, the feeling is quite mutual.
Catherine Marks thinks very little of Lord Ramsay. She finds him to be cynical, foolish, and self absorbed. Always on her guard around him, she fires just as many fiery comebacks to his every stinging quip. She's a closemouthed woman with a damaging past. Spending most of her time in the Hathaway family on the outside, always looking in. Though she has fallen head over heels for the bizarre family, she knows it's only a matter of time before her disguises no longer work and her most hated enemy recognizes her, spilling all her secrets, and forcing her to run once again.
Leo has always found Marks to be cantankerous, stubborn and ... utterly fascinating. Try as he might not to, he can't help wanting to find out all her guarded secrets. He launches a full out war upon her, completely unstoppable. And the more he learns, the more obsessed with her he becomes. He's afraid of falling in love again, but Marks is proving to be an irresistible challenge in the form of slow seduction.
Married by Morning starts before the end of Tempt Me at Twilight. Lisa Kleypas fans of the Hathaways had to be all but dying to know what events took place to cause such of confrontation between Marks and Leo at the end of Poppy and Harry's story. For such a scene to unfold could not have been anything short of scandalous to have the two even be in the same room alone together. Both frequently take full enjoyment in tormenting each other relentlessly and the resulting mixture of sharp barbs and witty dialogue is unbearably humorous. Married by Morning is clever and emotionally intense with scorching love scenes that heat up the pages and cause glasses to fog. The way Leo treats Marks is such a turn in character that not only is Mark's seeing him in a new light, the reader is as well. He showed such tenderness with Marks, in and out of the bedroom, that it left me pleasantly surprised by how romantic he can truly be. It is undoubtedly my favorite edition to the Hathaways series.(less)
The fifth edition to the Hathaway series, Love in the Afternoon, was both eagerly awaited and dreaded equally by me. But with only a month of wait, ne...moreThe fifth edition to the Hathaway series, Love in the Afternoon, was both eagerly awaited and dreaded equally by me. But with only a month of wait, neither emotion was felt overlong, however, my heartbreak was not just over it being the last in the series.
As the youngest sibling to the eccentric Hathaway clan, twenty - three year old Beatrix Hathaway has always been in love with nature. She’s a free spirit, preferring those of the four legged variety rather than those of her peers on two. Her penchant for being out-of-doors and riding only make more of statement to her half - civilized nature. She may not be the seasons beauty, but she’s not lacking in admires. That is until the courtship turns serious, and then she’s quickly turned over for a more normal Miss.
The story starts off innocently enough with Beatrix’s concern over Captain Phelan’s dog. Bea’s friend and raining beauty of Hampshire, Prudence Mercer, is corresponding with her suitor, Captain Christopher Phelan, through the means of Christopher’s sister-in-law, Audrey. With the arrival of his first letter, Pru is deeply grieved to find that his letter consist of nothing more than that of a mangy dog and war tragedies. She finds it completely boring and tedious. Beatrix has no great liking of Christopher - she finds him somewhat shallow and conceited, and she overheard once at a picnic a very rude comment he made about her. However, reading his letter makes her feel an odd connection to the man who has written it and when Prudence refuses to write him back and urges Beatrix to pretend to be her and write a response, Beatrix decides that she will. But, one letter becomes two, which become three, and before she knows it, they are exchanging what almost amount to love letters. What started out as a desire to help has turned into something completely unexpected, and she is conflicted with love for this man whom before she only felt dislike. Beatrix feels the guilt over the kept-up pretension that Prudence is the one writing the letters and abruptly stops all communication.
Fast forward almost one year, Captain Christopher Phelan returns home a war hero, but at a high price. He’s a much different man than he was before he left. The carefree rake that went off to war no longer exist and in his place is a fierce and broken soul. To make matters worse, he is greeted at home with the news of his brothers death. Now, all Christopher wants to do is find the one woman who can make him whole again, the woman who has kept him going, the woman he loves. Except, after he meets up with Pru in London, he finds it extremely hard to believe that this is the same woman who wrote all those beautiful letters. Confusion really sets in when he finds Bea - the woman he use to find annoying, frustrating, odd - to be intriguing, compelling, attractive, and undeniably appealing.
Love in the Afternoon was a disappointing end to a great series for me. I’ve loved the depth of the characters in this series and Christopher continues to live up to the others. You can feel his pain, sorrow, and conflict, but Ms. Kleypas failure, for me, was in cultivating Beatrix throughout the series. Everything we know about Bea, which is almost nothing, is exactly what she is - kind heartened, pure, and sweet. She doesn’t develop in anyway, and even at a woman of twenty three, she has kept her childlike nature and immaturity.
The other thing that bothered me about Love in the Afternoon is that they fall in love through their correspondence. The letters aren’t anything spectacular and stay squarely in the "almost love letter" column. I did absolutely love the idea that we didn’t have to wait til the end for declarations of love, and instead got to see the development of the relationship. However, Christopher falls in love with a woman he believes to be "Prudence" After meeting Pru, you’ll have no doubt in the contrast betwixt her and Bea. Where Bea is sweet and kind, Pru is shallow and vain. To me, it’s like Christopher fell in love with a different side he thought to have been Pru’s, seeing her in a new light, instead Bea’s genuine personality.
I truly did love the Hathaways, it's a light, funny, and sinfully sexy series that I believe any historical romance fan will adore. Love in the Afternoon may not have been my cup of tea, but I'm truly going to miss this quirky family.(less)
and Falling, Fly was not even close to what I was expecting after seeing it featured, along with it's author, on another bloggers website. Skyler Whit...moreand Falling, Fly was not even close to what I was expecting after seeing it featured, along with it's author, on another bloggers website. Skyler White, with her long dreads and funky wardrobe, writing about Rock Stars, vampires, angels, demons and desires, sounds suspiciously like the makings of a paranormal romance, but I was intrigued. After reading the first page, though I knew I was mistaken and this book would be so much more.
Olivia is a fallen angel. A vampire. She is desire. She feeds with quills on her victims and drinks their memories from their blood. She has no feeling, numb to all that is around her. She wants more, though. She's positive that the true love of mortal may save her from her long life as an undead, bringing her back into full grace. After her latest botched attempt at bringing this experiment to fruition she's accepts the fact that she has failed. Olivia's through with only being desired, shaping herself to mold into her latest victims idea of what she should be. She's done with the hoping and with it, its suffering. Done with searching for her way out through humanity. The wanting to be seen for who she really is. She wants to go home. To the one place she can be herself.
Dr. Dominic O'Shaughnessy is professor of neuroscience at Cambridge. He's a rational man, believing in only what he can see or prove. His study is in memories. He wants to isolate them and remove them. His search is not to only to help others, though but a vain attempt to cease his own burdens. Dominic is plagued with visions of past lives and people he once loved and lost. Feelings and images he should not possess, but seem no less real. He is apart of the Reborn. Forced to live his life over and over. Experience love to only loose it again. All he needs now is funding for his research and his departments prayers are answered by Madalene Wright, a well known power-house with generous pockets. However, her money comes with a price of it's own. Madalene is only interested in Dominic's research for what it could do for her goddaughter's delusional thoughts of vampirism and it must be done privately. To do this, he'll have to go back to the one place he knows that holds a secret population of the damned. He has to go back to Dublin, back to Hell.
L'Otel Matillide's is an underground sanctuary for all the tortured souls led by a innkeeper just as strange, Gaehod. It calls out to the Reborn and Undead, Damned, Cursed, and Misbegotten. Inviting them into the comfort of her understanding and freedom. Filled with inexplicably high ceilings, miles of rooms and secret gardens. Here is where are two characters meet. Each searching for their own answers and seeking escape from their own opposing realities. Only to be forced together by their own gravity of desire.
Skyler White writes a beautifully poetic tale of two people searching for themselves. A dark urban fantasy, matching myth and legend with desire, damnation and sacrifice that keep you spellbound to the very end. She asks hard questions of not only her characters, but of her readers. She says:
"Olivia is based on one of the darker sides of myself. She’s that dissatisfied, hungry, searching part of me that wants what she can’t have and is half irritated and half in love with that wanting. I wrote ‘and Falling, Fly’ as an opportunity to interrogate her, to poke around in my relationship to desire – with wanting and being wanted, with wanting and getting – or not getting. I wanted to try to understand why desire can be both motivating and crippling, where it can get twisted into craving or addiction, and where it can open up into liberation and love."
I have to say she has succeeded. Olivia and Dominic are forced to re-examine what they want and need. What's real and what's falsely presented as fact. To make choices based upon what they think they know. You're left constantly questioning what is real? Are there really undead fallen angels? Does Dominic really relive his past lives? Or is it all just an illusion?
I did have some issues with and Falling, Fly. The switching back and forth from Olivia's first person/past tense point of view to Dominic's third person point of view was a little troubling for me. It took me a lot longer than I would have wished to get in to the flow, though, after finding it, the pages turned quickly. This is not a read for the lazy reader and if you can get past the confusion, past the complexity of it, then it's worth every minute. I really enjoyed and Falling, Fly and can't wait to see more from Skyler White. (less)
What Happens in London, stays in London, but that does not mean the rumor mill isn't turning. Olivia Bevelstoke has just heard the news that her famil...moreWhat Happens in London, stays in London, but that does not mean the rumor mill isn't turning. Olivia Bevelstoke has just heard the news that her family has a new neighbor. A bachelor none-the-less who is tall, handsome, and... murdered his fiance? Oh that can't be true... could it? Olivia doesn't believe the gossip at first, but that doesn't stop her from trying to catch a glimpse of her new neighbor. As the daughter to the Earl of Rudland, and easily the tons seasons beauty, she knows her behavior is against propriety, but she just can't seem to help herself from spying on Sir Harry Valentine. What is he doing all day in his office? Who stays at their desk for over ten hours a day?
Sir Harry Valentine knows he's being watched. For five days now, he's tried to ignore the typical nosy society miss, but he just can't do it. It's terribly inconvenient, because he can't seem to focus on his translations with her watching him. As the heir to be a Baron, he had wonderful schooling, but the best had come from his very head strong Grandmere, who insisted that all English tutors were ninnies and taught the children herself. She was a feisty old woman who detest the English language, forcing him and his two siblings to only speak in Russian and French. His parents made no fuss about this, though, with his father being an absolute drunk and his mother... well let's just say she didn't have an opinion... ever. When of age, instead of going off to college like Harry always thought, he surprised himself instead by buying a commission in His Majesty's Army. After years of service, Harry, eventually made it to an incredibly dull position in the War Office, transcribing secret missions from Russian to English, which he absolutely loves. Except now, he just can't concentrate with that blasted girl staring at him!
Eventually Sir Harry catches Olivia in the act, and it's to neither his nor her surprise that at the Smythe-Smith Musicale Olivia reacts so frostly. Sir Harry dislikes Olivia right away for her cold-hearted demeanor and refuses to acknowledge the spark he felt when he first laid eyes on her. Even after their second meeting in Hyde park, Sir Harry is only more annoyed and has no plans to see her again. However, his boss Winthrop has other plans. He'd like Sir Harry to keep a watchful eye on Prince Alexei Ivanovich Gomarovsky, who is in town to visit his cousin, the Russian Ambassador. It seems that Prince Alexei maybe a Napoleon sympathizer and is making the War Office extremely nervous. To Sir Harry's utter horror, not only will he have to spy on Prince Alexei (which he absolutely detests doing), but the Prince has taken a liking to Miss Olivia Bevelstoke. Now Harry has to put all his issues aside for his assignment, but Sir Harry maybe in over his head, because as time passes, he can't help but admire the Lady Olivia.
I won't deny it, I'm a huge fan of Julia Quinn. I love her writing, it's intelligence mixed with witty humor. When her characters speak to one another, it's in a fine tuned banter that makes you feel as though your a fly on the wall and What Happens in London is no exception. Olivia really is the typical society Miss with too much time on her hands. She's in her third season and that isn't for lack of suitors, only for a lack of a connection. She's stubborn, but knows when to give up. Sir Harry is quiet, private man who loves to learn and read. The two together make an absolutely charming pair. Though, I'm far more interested in what happens to Sir Harry's cousin, Sebastian, in Ten Things I Love About You.(less)
The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever has everything that Ms. Quinn's fans usually adore about her. It's witty, clever, and funny. The writing is...moreThe Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever has everything that Ms. Quinn's fans usually adore about her. It's witty, clever, and funny. The writing is perfectly on par with her usual style that I've always loved. Though, I still did not like this book very much. Scratch that, what I should say, is that I didn't like her characters very much, because the plot isn't a bad one. It completely took me back to my first crush. However, I really didn't care for Miranda, or Turner for that matter. Miranda is very insecure and she's so in love with Turner that she let's him get away with anything that he wishes. Finally, FINALLY, when she does stand up for herself, the charade last but a minute because who wouldn't turn to jelly for that smile? Turner *Grrr* Turner is a self absorbed ass. I'm not completely heartless and realize his pain for what Leticia did to him, but he spends most of his time using Miranda as he sees fit to suit his needs. It seems as though he's only interested in her, because she's there, in love with him, and showing him attention.
No, The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever was not a good read for me, but the second Bevelstoke, What Happens in London, was and I can't wait to read the third, Ten Things I love About You.(less)
I can remember when I was a little girl and first read the story of Cinderella - I think most of us can. How the horribly treated cinder maid defeated...moreI can remember when I was a little girl and first read the story of Cinderella - I think most of us can. How the horribly treated cinder maid defeated her evil stepmother by marrying the handsome prince - *sigh* how romantic. Eloisa James has now taken this timeless classic and made it her very own with the debut in her new fairy tales series.
It all started with rats... well not exactly rats, but something similarly close. One small Maltese that turned Katherine Daltry's world upside down and around. Though, we'll get back to the rats... er dogs. Since Kate's father died seven years ago, she's been treated by her stepmother as nothing more than the help, instead of a lady of the Yarrow house that is her birth right. Marianna Daltry hasn't exactly turned Kate into a maid, but she has moved her to the attic and fired most of the staff, making Kate pick up the slack. She also has no interest in the upkeep of what's left of the tenants and instead uses Kate's fathers money to buy unnecessary frivolous items. Kate can leave Yarrow house at anytime, but she fears what would become of the tenants and what's left of the staff. So she stays and endures.
Victoria Daltry has had a slight mishap with feeding her dog, Ceasar, which couldn't have come at a worse time. Marianna has concocted the perfect scheme (in her eyes), she needs Kate to pose as Victoria so she can marry Algernon Bennet who needs the approval of his uncle, The Prince of Marburg. It just won't do for everyone to see Victoria in such a condition (with a reputation to uphold) and first impression is not only wanted, but needed. Now, because of the rat, Marianna forces Kate to take her sister Victoria's place in meeting the Prince.
Prince Gabriel Augustus-Frederick William von Aschenberg of Warl-Marburg-Baalsfeld is in love with archeology and wants nothing more than to be sifting through the ruins of Carthedge. He doesn't want to be at Pemeroy castle. He doesn't want to be responsible for the family and staff his crazed brother, The Grand Duke, threw out of Marburg on the grounds of religious impurity. He also doesn't want to meet Algie's new bride or his own betrothed for that matter. He wants to be free to do as he wills, to dig in the dirt and uncover history. However, as much he doesn't want to do all these things, honor bounds him to his responsibilities.
When Gabriel first meets Kate as Victoria, he thinks nothing much of his nephew's new betrothed. He most certainly doesn't see where the ton thinks of her as the seasons beauty. Kate has a similar negative reaction to the Prince. Though, while she thinks him an attractive man, it's the air of arrogance that turn her off. Gabriel wants two things in a woman - biddable and bedable. He see's neither in Kate, but there's something about her that he can't stay away from. With him knowing her as only Victoria and his future bride only a few days away from arriving, Gabriel tries his hardest to stay away from Kate, but fails miserably. Duty and honor are the only two things holding him back from the alluring Kate and Gabriel is finding it hard to live up to his position.
Kate is exactly how I always wanted my Cinderella to be - a fighter. She fights for what she believes in, what's right and wrong. She fight's her stepmother as much as she can in her position. She isn't book smart, but she has made effort to be and she's not lacking in common sense. Her sister Victoria isn't the awful stepsister, but actually very sweet and caring. She's never taken part in torturing Kate like Marianna does and that's why Kate relents on going along with the crazy plan. Even the Prince is different from our perfect first. He's arrogant, a little rude and brooding. It's not until Kate really gets to know him that she finally understands his personality. Although his arrogance never really goes away, it becomes more playful and sexy.
A Kiss at Midnight is actually my first Eloisa James novel. The other girls at Paperback Dolls completely love her, so when we got the chance to review one of her novels, I jumped at the offer. The story is one we've all heard before, but the twists that Ms. James puts in are a welcomed change. Most of the novel takes place at Pemeroy, but I didn't feel the least bit claustrophobic. Pemeroy is a very large castle, and Ms. James makes use of the grounds. My favorite character has got to be Henry, Kate's "Godmother" This woman says exactly what's on her mind. She's a little vulgar for the times and completely self assured. It's plain to see that she wants nothing but good things to come Kate's way. She does everything in her power to make her comfortable and happy.
I took A Kiss at Midnight for exactly what it was, a fairy tale romance. I wanna say how important it is that I make it clear that this is a fairy tale and not a historical romance. Ms. James expresses this herself in the authors notes at the end. But anyone who reads this beautiful story will have no doubt about it. A Kiss at Midnight was romantic, sexy and funny and I myself am already more than ready for the next in this series, which I hear will be about Sleeping Beauty.(less)