You know that feeling of satisfaction, when you can't help but sigh with contentment. You have a little grin on your face and all is well with the wor...moreYou know that feeling of satisfaction, when you can't help but sigh with contentment. You have a little grin on your face and all is well with the world. Well, this is how I felt returning to one of my favourite authors, Julia Quinn. She has a knack for making her characters so likable and so very enjoyable. It's effortless. That is true talent. I am laughing frequently as I read, making passersby stare and question my sanity. I first enjoyed Ms. Quinn's tales in the Bridgerton series, gobbling them up like literary candy. It was with joy and a tiny bit of trepidation that I picked up the first book in her newly released series "Just Like Heaven". I wasn't sure if I would like the heroine she chose, one of the Smythe-Smith characters from the Bridgerton series. Boy was I wrong. Honoria Smythe-Smith is wonderful. She is an endearing young woman whose looks aren't overwhelming but whose sense of humour and honest love of family is heartwarming. Our hero, Marcus, also known as Lord Chatteris, isn't a rogue. He isn't even overly attractive! Gasp! He is your every day gentleman! A man with morals, a man who does the right thing. A dependable man. A man who longed for a family to love and for a family to love him. What's even better is the fact that this story is based upon two characters who have known each other for fifteen years. Yes, Marcus has known Honoria since she was six years old. Daniel, Honoria's brother, is Marcus' best friend. Hence Marcus' presence at the Smythe-Smith's home for many holidays, birthdays and special occasions. He was always there. Always the quiet, dependable Marcus. Honoria knew him like the back of her own hand. Marcus knew every quirk of Honoria's personality. Suddenly, each discovers they hold deeper feelings for the other, a realization that knocks them off their feet. I cheered for Lord Chatteris and his quest for a sense of belonging. I loved how his feelings began to take charge, overwhelming him in their urgency.
“He’d spent his life being a perfect gentleman. He’d never been a flirt. He’d never been a rogue. He hated being the center of attention, but by God, he wanted to be the center of her attention. He wanted to do the wrong thing, the bad thing. He wanted to pull her into his arms and carry her to her bed. He wanted to peel every last inch of her clothing from her body, and then he wanted to worship her. He wanted to show her all the things he wasn’t sure he knew how to say.”
This is a sweet love story that will make you smile. Yes, there are scenes that will make you laugh out loud. Yes, you will delight in the wonderful characters. Yes, you will want to fall in love all over again. Sigh.....I am feeling content again. (less)
How do you seduce a scoundrel? If you are anything like me, you cannnot help but be drawn to the bad boy, the feverishly sexy guy you know you shouldn...moreHow do you seduce a scoundrel? If you are anything like me, you cannnot help but be drawn to the bad boy, the feverishly sexy guy you know you shouldn't want, but do anyways. Wouldn't you want to know HOW to seduce him, to make him yours, not just for now, but for always? Well, do you bat your eyes at him? Do you display your luscious bosom in a sexy but classy gown? Do you laugh at his witty remarks and play a little hard to get? Well, my fellow romance lovers, the answers are here for you in Vicky Dreiling's second novel, "How to Seduce a Scoundrel".
Our heroine, Julianne Gatewick, needs to seduce a scoundrel, and not just any-old-scoundrel. We are talking about her brother's best friend, Marc Darcett, the Earl of Hawkfield (aka Hawk). How do you seduce a man that you've known since you were a little girl, a man who is reputed to be a complete rogue, a man whom you have loved since you were 9 years old? Julianne is determined to make Hawk hers, but how does she convince him that she is no longer his innocent little Julie-girl, but a beautiful, engaging woman?
Hawk had no idea that being the guardian for his best friend's sister would be such a task! She has young bucks surrounding her at all times wherever she goes, and Hawk, being a man, knows EXACTLY what is on their minds, and it's not sharing a game of lawn bowling! Soon enough, Hawk realizes that Julianne isn't a little girl, but a exceptionally beautiful woman with curves he would like to stroke and eyes he could loose himself in and hair that he could sink his fingers through. Wait. This is his best friend's sister. He cannot have these desires for his Julie-girl. It's not right...or is it?
I really enjoyed this book. In fact, I think I liked it more than the first book! I laughed at the banter between Hawk and Julianne and you could just feel the chemistry building between them. The scene where Julianne and her girlfriends get sloshed at an evening soiree is hilarious! The secondary characters are meaningful and memorable. I think Lady Rutledge stole the book. She is Hawk's aunt who is a no-nonsense, tell it like it is kind of gal. I loved her. She encourages Julianne to write a pamphlet to help the single girls catch a man, with many of the ideas coming from Lady Rutledge herself.
This is a great summer read where the characters learn and grow. With the help of Julianne's true love, Hawk learns to forgive himself for a grave mistake in his past. Julianne learns that there is more to love than just outward appearances. What's beautiful is on the inside of both a man and a woman.(less)
Just imagine. It is the early 12th century in the Scottish Highlands and you've just had a row with your husband, your very new husband. He's taking o...moreJust imagine. It is the early 12th century in the Scottish Highlands and you've just had a row with your husband, your very new husband. He's taking off for an undefined amount of time and doesn't even bother to say goodbye. You whisper your adieu to him and you take your leave, heartbroken, feeling unwanted and alone. As you walk up the hill, you suddenly feel the ground shaking and others are rushing to get off the path in front of you. Before you can face the impending danger, you are plucked from the ground and swept up onto your husband's horse, his hand tight around your waist as you gallop at a breakneck speed. At the top of the incline, he stops his stallion, stares into your eyes and whispers his farewell. And then he kisses you, long and hard.....a kiss both you and he will never forget. Just imagine. Your new husband has just swept you off your feet.
This is but one of my favourite parts in this enjoyable tale. Julie Garwood has a talent for shaping unforgettable characters. She lets you think their thoughts and feel their emotions until you believe you are there with them.....a secondary character yourself....a member of the clan. I really delighted in the heroine's character, Brenna. She was a sweet romantic at heart, yet she was strong, determined and out-spoken when she needed to be. Her quirky flaw of forgetting her personal belongings all over the place made her more real and endearing to me. Brenna was going to make her marriage work, and that was one outstanding feat, for Connor MacAlister is one formidable, unemotional Highlander. And the fact that he stole her as she was making her way to her wedding to another Highlander is no easy fact to get over. Connor's past has shaped his actions and his need for revenge is no secret. But he is an honourable man. Yet his English bride Brenna manages to tap upon his heart, little by little breaking down his hard exterior, reaching into his soul and releasing the love he has for her. Brenna makes Connor realize that loving someone does make him vulnerable, yet it doesn't make him less of a man. A great story and perfect read for the summer.(less)
When writing a review, I usually have a method to my madness. I start with some kind of hook to get the reader interested. Then I move into a brief sy...moreWhen writing a review, I usually have a method to my madness. I start with some kind of hook to get the reader interested. Then I move into a brief synopsis of the plot. I then move on to some personal anecdotes outlining why I loved the book. Finally, I wrap it all up with some sweet thought that leaves the reader contemplating the values of humankind. Voila, my review! However, this time, I am doing things a little different. I'm just going to tell it like it is....I'm going to lay it on the line and just say WHY I liked this book. Somehow, I need to let you know what made me say, "Sorry, son, I can't make dinner right now. Mommy's reading. Go ask Daddy." or even "I can't help with your homework right now, can't you see I'm trying to finish this book? Go ask your dad." Wow....it's shameful, but it's the truth. Now why???
Reason 1: The setting. I've said this before and I'm sure I'll say it again, there is something about the Scottish Highlands that sweeps me away. I don't want to leave that magical, romantic place. Yes, it's cold and blustery, but it is also serene and epically beautiful with rolling mountains and heather-covered fields. Simply breath-taking.
Reason 2: The humour. I couldn't help but laugh out loud many times in this tale. The banter between the lovers had me giggling and I especially enjoyed the "talking to" that Brodick and Ramsey had to endure from dear old Uncle Morgan. Gillian's dear uncle was old and crotchety and very dear to Gillian. He had to endure the hysterics of both Gillian and Bridgid when the two women believed their men were not going to pledge their forever love. Uncle Morgan took his frustrations out on the two warriors, letting them know that they better be good to these women because he couldn't take their whining any more!
Reason 3: Hunky men. God....this book is filled with them! Iain Maitland is back. I fell in love with him in book 1 (The Secret). His dark, imposing figure sent me swooning then and now. And then there's the breathtakingly beautiful Ramsey Sinclair, described even by other men in the book as an "Adonis". Women flock to him in hordes, and I am sure that I would have been one of those fair maiden's chasing after this beautiful beast. And of course, our main hunk, Brodick Buchanan. His sheer size blocks out the sun and his long, flaxen hair and tanned skin take your breathe away. What more could a women want....beautiful, strong men and all of them wearing kilts, riding on horseback and carrying dirks!
Reason 4: Great female leads. I loved Gillian. She was a formidable woman, with a will to survive and a genuine love for others. She protected the young Alec Maitland from the evil Baron Alford with nothing other than courage and strength. She's my kind of gal....tough enough, yet gentle and knowing. The second strong female character that I enjoyed was Bridgid KirkConnell. She was a fiesty young beauty who was in love with Ramsey, but of course, kept her feelings a secret, until she befriended Gillian. I loved the way she would mutter how stubborn and arrogant Ramsey was one minute, and then suck in her breathe when she looked into his eyes. She sees his flaws, and still loves him. I know where she's coming from!
Reason 5: Action and mystery. This was a fast-paced book full of action and a bit of mystery that keeps the reader thinking. Who has that jeweled box and what is in it? I enjoyed the plot and the immediate adventure one takes from the very turn of the first page.
Reason 6: Love. Yes, I am a sucker for a good love story. Gillian finds herself unwittingly falling for a brute of a man, and even questions how she could fall so quickly. Love isn't supposed to happen so suddenly. Is it? The following quote is a question I have even asked myself. Can love grab you by the throat and leave you breathless.....or is it only a feeling that is nurtured with time? What do you believe?
"Love wasn't supposed to happen this suddenly. Gillian spent most of the ride to Ramsey's holding thinking about Brodick and wondering how in heaven's name he had managed to capture her heart so completely in so little time. The man had all but robbed her of her senses. She was well aware of his flaws, most of them anyway, but she still loved him all the same, and how was such a thing possible? Love was supposed to be nourished. It was a slow realization that occurred afer months and months of courting, and sometimes that awareness took years. Love certainly didn't strike like lightning."(less)
I truly believe that words are the gateway to a woman's heart and soul. I can only imagine the filling of a woman's heart as her true love whispers th...moreI truly believe that words are the gateway to a woman's heart and soul. I can only imagine the filling of a woman's heart as her true love whispers these words to her.
"Ye're so fine, Mairi MacGregor. Ye lay waste to my heart and restore my soul."
Or these words as he trails wet kisses down her neck.
"Ye're mine, Mairi." He vowed, kissing her again. "Ye will always be mine."
Or these words as he finally admits his regrets for having left her.
"I was a bloody fool fer leaving ye. Ye are my stars, my sun, my world. I love ye."
And finally, how can any female not melt into a pool of love at hearing these words of true adoration.
"Mairi", he said more softly, closer to the door. "I have loved ye all my life. I see yer face at the dawning of each new sunrise and in the fiery stars at night. I hear yer laughter in the tinkling of cups, the crack of yer tongue in the thunder. I have thought of ye in battle and it kept me alive, determined to be with ye again. And now that I am, I am haunted by yer tears."
Connor Grant has a gift. His words wash over you like a cool breeze on a hot summer night, caressing you, captivating you. He had me at "hello". Once Connor decided to tell Mairi MacGregor what was in his heart, she was putty in his hands, his words melting her resolve on the spot. Her sharp tongue and fierce loyalty to her kin and King were traits Connor adored, along with her long dark locks and natural Scottish beauty. He wanted her back. He had never stopped loving her and he wasn't about to let anything keep her from him again. Not his service to the Catholic King, not a jealous man, not even the threat of war.
I loved this book. Having read the previous stories in the series, I was well acquainted with the other characters, and I was happy to embrace them like family members I hadn't seen in years. You could feel the sparks flying between the hero and heroine. There was humour, passion, deceit and betrayal, all of it encompassed in a tale of battles between England and her surrounding countries, between Catholics and Protestants and between Englishmen and Highlanders. I cannot wait for the next book in this series which focuses on Mairi's brother Colin, a fierce and cunning warrior himself. I am sure this brave Highlander will envelop me with his words as well.(less)
Aren't we all secretly ( or maybe not secretly, as in my case) attracted to those bad boys? The ones your mother told you to stay away from, the ones...moreAren't we all secretly ( or maybe not secretly, as in my case) attracted to those bad boys? The ones your mother told you to stay away from, the ones who have that naughty glint in their eyes, the ones whose wickedness holds a certain charm, the ones who are just a bit rebellious and innately driven? Don't we believe, deep down, that maybe, just maybe, these bad boys could fall in love with us? Well, once again, I have fallen in love with a bad boy, and his name is Zachary Bronson.
Zachary always gets what he wants, and what he wants is Lady Holly Taylor. As Holly is leaving a ball, the first real outing she has attempted after having been in mourning for three years since the death of her beloved husband, she is swept up in a kiss by Zachary Bronson. Neither knows the identity of the other on the darkened conservatory, but each feels the passion and the allure of the kiss. It is at this point that Zachary decides he is going to make Lady Holly his. It is too, at this point, that something is ignited deep within this young, beautiful widow.
Zachary is a very wealthy, self-made man, something unheard of in the ton. Blue-blood is the only blood that matters, the only blood that makes you a true gentleman. Zachary is the first to admit that he is not a gentleman. It is this knowledge that he uses as a premise to lure Holly and her daughter onto his estate. Lessons. Lessons in manners, lessons in deportment, lessons in chivalry.....lessons in everything gentlemanly. Zachary is willing to pay Holly a huge sum of money, not only to turn him into a gentleman respected by the peerage, but also to give his beautiful sister, Lizzie, etiquette lessons as well so that she may make a productive match for herself. But once the prim and proper Lady Holly embarks on this mission, she is shocked to find herself falling for this brute of a man, a man, she discovers, who is more than the breadth of his shoulders and the fortune he amasses. But how could she fall for someone so different than her first love, George. George would never approve of her finding love with someone so beneath her status, someone so feral. But how can Holly resist Zachary when he is so vulnerable, yearning to be accepted and loved for who he truly is.
I truly enjoyed this book. I loved the hero....striking, big and brawny, devoted, intelligent, loyal and passionate. Something about a man fighting his way out of poverty using his physicality and his intelligence is very attractive! I loved how he was able to admit to himself that he was falling in love with a woman. And I loved that he told her so, even at the risk of being rejected for the "commoner" he was. I was happy to see that Zachary wouldn't change for anyone. He knew his flaws, but wasn't willing to change for anyone....he stayed true to his self. The sexual chemistry between the hero and heroine is hot. I loved how Zachary ignited a passion in Holly that was beneath the surface of her lady-like composure. But I did get tired of her holding on to the ghost of her first husband for so long throughout the tale. Having read so many of Lisa Kleypas' novels, my expectations were high and I was not disappointed. Kleypas has once again created characters that come to life on the page, characters that make you yell in frustration...characters that make you laugh uncontrollably.....characters that make you weep with sorrow....characters that make you cry out in anguish. Rose, Holly's four year old daughter, is one such character that touches the reader with her innocent charm and childish honesty. Tears slipped down my cheeks as she was saying goodbye to Zachary, a scene that reveals his inner anguish.
"Will I ever see you and Lizzie again?" Rose asked woefully. Zachary couldn't bring himself to lie to her. "Not very often, I'm afraid". "You'll miss me awfully," she said, heaving a sigh, and she began to fumble for something in the pocket of her pinafore. Something went wrong with Zachary's eyes, some odd blurring and stinging that he couldn't seem to blink away. "Every day princess." "Are you going to cry, Mr. Bronson?" the child asked in concern, coming to stand beside his knees, staring into his downturned face. He managed to smile at her. "Just a little on the inside," he said raspily. He felt her little hand on his cheek, and he held utterly still as she kissed him on the nose. "Good-bye, Mr. Bronson," she whispered, and she left with her button string trailing dolefully behind her.
This book is a hidden gem that I think romance addicts will adore. It brings with it a wonderful message that is applicable throughout the ages. Even if we lose a love, the world can bring us another. Love comes in different forms.....it can be soft and romantic, tender and loyal, or passionately sensual and zealous. All are different, but the same.....the end result is happiness.(less)