I dove into The Great Christmas Knit-Off because I've always loved Brit Lit, was in a rare holiday mood, but mostly because I am very into crochet—kniI dove into The Great Christmas Knit-Off because I've always loved Brit Lit, was in a rare holiday mood, but mostly because I am very into crochet—knitting's less attractive stepsister. And in those respects, the story met those desires. It was a cute book that focuses on friendship and finding a new life path when it is least expected and most needed.
I had fun reading the first half of Great Christmas. Sybs was an engaging MC at s give crossroad in her life, and I liked where the author was taking her. But then, I felt like there was too much filler. There were so many secondary characters, some I enjoyed, the rest just added too much unnecessary detail to the book. I wanted introspection from Sybs, and more investment in what was supposed to be a budding relationship with Ben. I also felt that several of the secondaries were more caricature, particularly her twin Sasha.
On the whole, The Great Christmas Knit-Off was a lighthearted, fun story. And while I had some issues, I think many readers will enjoy over the holiday season....more
Welp. Break Me Down may as well be subtitled "I Did the Prep Work Guys, You're Welcome" because this was a hot one. Every time I read a Loving On theWelp. Break Me Down may as well be subtitled "I Did the Prep Work Guys, You're Welcome" because this was a hot one. Every time I read a Loving On the Edge novel I know I'd better be prepared and this installment was no exception.
I don't remember much about Gibson and Samantha from earlier instalments in the series, other than Gib was an excellent brother to Kade (my fav), but wow, these two make a huge impression. The impression they made was not only with the sexual side to the relationship, but the emotional and the mentality that drove their sexualities. Yes, the framework to their relationship was started in prior novels, but the author did such a wonderful job of expanding and fully developing the issues that drive and shape Gib and Sam. Break Me Down is a shorter book, but it does not leave the reader feeling shortchanged.
When I think of and recommend erotic romance series, particularly those with BDSM, Loving on the Edge is the first I'd recommend. I highly recommend this book, but beware, you will feel the heat after reading Break Me Down....more
Scandal Takes the Stage has a lot to offer historical romance readers. I deeply appreciate that Eva Leigh has a series of heroines who** 3.5 stars **
Scandal Takes the Stage has a lot to offer historical romance readers. I deeply appreciate that Eva Leigh has a series of heroines who buck the traditional role of women in Regency-era England. Eva from Forever Your Earl runs a gossip publication, and now we have Maggie Delamere, a playwright. I like that switch-up. A lot.
And I liked Cam and Maggie, particularly together, even if I didn't quite get his characterization. Cam is heir to a Marquis. He is rich and handsome and a bit of rake, and he's very nice. Although he has everything going for him, has never had his heart broken, and is surrounded by happy marriages, Cam is certain he will never have love in his life. Why? I don't know. And we never really learn his reasoning, other than a few pity parties Cam indulges in, here and there. I thought we might get a good grip on this with Cam's longing to be a playwright himself —a non starter for a nobleman—but that plot thread was dropped after a brief time. Luckily, Cam gets over his surety and does fall in love, but like I said, I didn't quite get him.
Now Maggie... I think the author did a pretty great job with her. Honestly, I think her reasons for avoiding Cam, and romance, were much easier to explain and sympathize with. She had a great back story, making her snarky evasiveness, and desperation to succeed very easy to get behind. I have to say that Leigh gave these two great chemistry and when they finally get physical, it was delicious.
The plot of Scandal Takes the Stage held my interest, though I never felt overly compelled to read until the last 25% of the book. I don't know why I've struggled with this series. On paper, it is totally my wheelhouse, but in reality, I just like them. Maybe it's me, who knows. But, I did get enough bait in the form of Cam's cousin, a vicar, that if he gets a book, I'm totally down....more
The Wrong Bride was a cute, fast-paced story. I enjoyed it, but...the entire "wrong bride" bit could have actually been solved if Hugh McCallum actualThe Wrong Bride was a cute, fast-paced story. I enjoyed it, but...the entire "wrong bride" bit could have actually been solved if Hugh McCallum actually opened his ears and listened to what Riona *repeatedly* told him, which was he had the wrong bride. Lack of communication is a big, bookish pet peeve of mine. The real bride was actually her cousin, same name, same home, same room, which is what led to the wrong bride being stolen. I told you it was cute.
Though I wasn't overly wowed by The Wrong Bride, I think it has a good bit working for it. The author's use of Scots dialect and culture was great. I liked both Hugh and Riona, and thought their "courtship" was very endearing (particularly the tying of legs before bed). I really appreciated that despite this lifelong betrothal, there was an honest effort to make the marriage a true one. The secondary characters' stories were a nice touch, especially Maggie, Owen, and Brendan.
With a fun plot and a made-to-order perfectly tied ending for Hugh and Riona, I think many readers will find The Wrong Bride very enjoyable....more
I've meant to try a Kearsley book for a few years now. I didn't love Named of the Dragon. I did enjoy the setting, and that it had a distinctly GothicI've meant to try a Kearsley book for a few years now. I didn't love Named of the Dragon. I did enjoy the setting, and that it had a distinctly Gothic feel. I don't remember reading anything else based on Arthurian myth, which is a nice bonus. I think my problem is the way the myth blended with reality, which, in my opinion, was choppy. I don't know if it wasn't enough myth, or that what was used was too vague, but I didn't feel a strong sense of "rightness".
So, Named of the Dragon wasn't a win for me, I did enjoy Kearsley's voice and look forward to revisiting her work soon. ...more
"This is what I do. Provide a screen for men like you to project their fantasies on. It's not about the sex —if it were just about the sex you'd be ha"This is what I do. Provide a screen for men like you to project their fantasies on. It's not about the sex —if it were just about the sex you'd be happy with a quick wank. It's all about the fantasy, Ben, age you're paying me not to let the reality of myself intrude on that."
I really enjoyed Untouchable! I wasn't quite sure what I was getting in to when I began, but I did believe it had the potential to be a fascinating read. And it was, in my opinion. Untouchable provides a stark depiction of the life of high call escorts, who are paid hundreds of dollars/hour for their time and body. The book never tries to downplay the immorality or become judgmental, it's just...real and messy (ha?), and I liked that.
What Untouchable really is, though, is a thriller. When a fellow escort is murdered, with no trace of a killer, Stella/Grace reluctantly but resolutely decides to find justice for her friend. What ensues is a trail of corruption and shady dealings involving some of the most powerful players in government. And they don't take Grace's personal investigation too well. I thought the thriller aspect of the book was great.
I will point out that there were a few times I became really uncomfortable reading Untouchable. There were a few times the lines between paid sex and assault were crossed, but only in order to serve the story.
I did have some difficulty grasping the big mystery of Grace's past. The details are sparse throughout most of the book. I'm not sure the "equation" totally adds up, but it wasn't enough to completely lose me in the end.
Untouchable probably won't be the book for everyone, but for me, it was a very good read....more
Forever Your Earl was a good book. Eva Leigh is a really good writer. I liked that her heroine was a business owner and writer, with a** 3.5 stars **
Forever Your Earl was a good book. Eva Leigh is a really good writer. I liked that her heroine was a business owner and writer, with a strong sense of self and purpose. She was not ashamed of her slightly scandalous work. FYE tackled the struggles of women in Regency England, as well as class inequality, all without feeling heavy handed. As a man, Eleanor could get into any variety of trouble. She could go literally anywhere without fear. No one would question her presence or catcall her. She was free. Free of the burden of womanhood, where every shadow contained a threat and numerous doors were closed to her. Not tonight. Tonight, she could do whatever she wanted.
“Women apologize too much. Always begging someone’s forgiveness for the smallest trifles. You catch a cold and apologize for being ill. Take a breath, and it’s, ‘I’m so sorry for using your air.’ ” “Because we’re taught to,” she replied. “Men just take and take. Like they’re the world’s rude houseguests. You’re not going to eat that, are you? I’ll just spread my legs and arms out in the omnibus and take up every last inch of space. And we’re harridans and harpies if we point it out. I suppose no one has ever said the word no to you.”
At last, he tore his gaze away from her breasts and up to her. “The hell did you expect?” he demanded. “You show up in a dress like that and suppose I’ll stare deeply into your eyes?” “Ah, so it’s my responsibility to control your response?” She tsked. “How very sad, that you’re so weak of will, you require someone else to regulate your actions.”
“There haven’t been enough men in Parliament arguing for the welfare of veterans,” Eleanor said darkly. “Former soldiers see and endure such horrors. That changes a man. Yet they’re expected to return to civilian life as if waking from a dream, leaving all that behind them. An unfair demand.”
While I thought Forever Your Earl was a good book, for me, it lacked oomph. It was fine, but never a true page turner.
I am looking forward to the next book in the series, featuring a female playwright and a really naughty aristo....more
(I fell asleep and accidentally deleted my original review before saving it, so this is going to be short and sweet)
The Rebel Pirate was a great stor(I fell asleep and accidentally deleted my original review before saving it, so this is going to be short and sweet)
The Rebel Pirate was a great story. Sarah Ward's and James Sparhawk's story was loaded full of action and adventure, intrigue and betrayals; and a love story that was complicated by politics and duty, along with a wicked twist. Family plays a strong defining role in the book, be it Sarah's strong and loving family, or James's horrific background. Add all that to the fact the story is a sweeping historical fiction set during the days before the American Revolution, and you've pretty much turned my crank into high gear.
I loved how the author is able to weave history with fiction, combining what was with what might have been. I also liked that The Rebel Pirate was set before the first book in the series, Turncoat, so that a dangerous/manipulative/badass character was able to appear in Sarah and James's story. She's the thread —and the powder keg—in the series, and I hope to see her again.
I didn't love The Rebel Pirate quite as much as Turncoat, but that honestly was a tall order. The climax was a bit abrupt, though ultimately satisfying. Renegades of the Revolution is turning out to be a favorite Historical Fiction series. I cannot wait to dive back in....more
They must go together, he realized, or not at all.
The Turncoat was BRILLIANT.
The prose was clean, clever, and enchanting. The plot was, again, cleverThey must go together, he realized, or not at all.
The Turncoat was BRILLIANT.
The prose was clean, clever, and enchanting. The plot was, again, clever, and fascinating. I'm a hardcore history junkie, particularly for the American Revolution. The author seamlessly wove fiction with fact, leaving me stunned, thrilled, and, honestly, sad that so much of this time and people will always be unknown.
The Turncoat isn't exactly a romance, though it does have a strong romantic story within. There is even -GASP- a bit of a love triangle, though it's more of a romantic entanglement of necessity. If you let the thought of a triangle scare you away, you're missing the point of the story, and going to miss out on a hell of a book.
What The Turncoat is, in addition to being a love story in the time of war and deception, is a testament to the women who fought the Revolution behind the scenes. They are the unsung heroes, and I believe the war would not have been won without them. The Turncoat is an epic page-turner, a spy thriller that will leave you breathless until the very last page.
Donna Thorland has won herself a new devotee.
"Now you possess my hand and my letter. That leaves you no hands free.” He slipped the letter into the breast of his tunic. “Now my left hand is free. What do you suggest I do with it?” She willed herself to look away from his long, elegant fingers and instead found her eyes trapped by his pale blue gaze. Her voice sounded tiny and far away when she spoke. “The Latin word for left was sinistra . Sinister. The Romans mistrusted the left hand.” His voice was very soft now. “So should you.”
Everyone pretending to be something they were not. Except for one girl, who was not here, because she was no longer playing at being anything but herself....more
Only a Kiss was an okay book for me, and I'm not sure why. On paper, it seems to be right up my alley, but you know, I can't even remember the main chOnly a Kiss was an okay book for me, and I'm not sure why. On paper, it seems to be right up my alley, but you know, I can't even remember the main characters' names, so either I'm awful and distracted, or it just wasn't memorable to me.
Here's the thing: despite my not remembering the lead characters' names, Only a Kiss was a nice story. The H/h were likable characters, with the heroine having a particularly good, yet tragic backstory. My very favorite part of the book was the Survivors Club. When they come into play, and the heroine really confronts her husband's death in the Napoleonic wars, it was good stuff, and left me curious to read more about the rest of the Survivors.
I don't know why Only a Kiss didn't resonate heavily with me. It may be that I've come off a high of reading a book that's a new favorite, or that I'm in a mood. There's nothing about this book that struck me wrong, irritated me, or left me cold. It was fine, and what may be my "fine" might be someone else's "amazing"....more
The Sisters of Versailles is a fascinating book. I love when an author can bring obscure historical characters and/or events to life, and Sally ChristThe Sisters of Versailles is a fascinating book. I love when an author can bring obscure historical characters and/or events to life, and Sally Christie did that so well. This book is both a compelling historical and scandalous page turner. If you're familiar with The Other Bolelyn Sister, then you have a good idea of what you'll get with The Sisters of Versailles.
Told in alternating chapters between Louise, Pauline, Diane, Hortense, and Marie-Anne, along with letters between the sisters, Sisters recounts the years between 1730 and 1745 Versailles. From the time the sisters were simply young, sheltered daughters whose lives consisted of only their nursery, to daring to dream, reach, grasp, claw and betray their ways to the King's bed and heart. Some of the sisters were nearly harmless and naive, others led easily astray, and others were vicious, awful, power-hungry vipers.
Goodness, but sisters are a thing to fear.
I was horrified by these sisters (and almost grateful I don't have any!)
I have no idea how much of this book is fiction and how much is fact. No one knows that, I think. The author took on a very ambitious piece of French history, and really pulled it off. The Sisters of Versailles is an interesting and compelling story. I doubt I'll ever forget the tragic Mailly-Nesle sisters.
But through it all, through the good, the bad, the sin and the scandal, the heartbreak and the joy, the exiles and the deaths, through it all, they were my sisters. And now I am all that is left. I sit in my darkened rooms, an old woman, passing my days rustling through their letters and my memories. If I am careful, and still, I can hear their voices once again....more
I have a question: Why is the title of this book Scotsman of My Dreams when the man in question is not a Scotsman? Sure, his last name** 2.5 stars **
I have a question: Why is the title of this book Scotsman of My Dreams when the man in question is not a Scotsman? Sure, his last name is Scots, as is his ancestry, but this man was a Brit through-and-through. In fact, the only Scot in this book was a distant cousin who had one scene. You're just setting readers up for false expectations.
Speaking of unrealistic expectations, there was this:
She reached down between them and grabbed his erection with both hands, stroking it, measuring it with her fingers. It was at least nine fingers long and so wide around that her thumb and forefinger didn’t meet when she extended them around it.
A nine-fingers long penis! Good lord that thing should be registered as a deadly weapon. But seriously, I'm totally fine with giving book hero unrealistic proportions, but even I know you must draw a line somewhere.
Scotsman of My Dreams was okay. I thought the plot moved terribly slow, but was interesting enough. The leading characters were fairly likable, even endearing at times.
I just can't get past the monster peen, really. I won't remember anything about this book EXCEPT the non-Scottish Scotsman with the nine fingers long peen. ...more
“Logan, you are my dream. You always were. You have to know that. The deepest desire of my heart. And as wild a fantasy as I spun ...” She laced her“Logan, you are my dream. You always were. You have to know that. The deepest desire of my heart. And as wild a fantasy as I spun . . .” She laced her arms about his neck. “ . . . the reality of us is so much better.”
This review is a Hot Mess. Spoiler alert: I loved it.
Oh. My. Heart. When a Scot Ties the Knot far exceeded my expectations, and trust me, those expectations were high. The plot was unique and and endearing. It is a love story, obviously. But it is also a story of dreams, chasing and finding your dreams. Choices. Daring to dream of love and family of your own making. A dream of a home and love to fill it.
Maddie Gracechurch didn't dream of ballgowns and society parties. Shyness and a paralyzingly fear of crowds had her seeking quiet solitude and her art. A fake,dead fiancé and the inheritance of a castle in the Scottish highlands gives her the opportunity to have a life of her own choosing, in peace. I adored Maddie. Her deceit was born of a need to protect herself, and was never meant to go beyond the letters she sent to herself from a make believe Captain, off fighting the Napoleonic war. When her dreamt up, supposedly dead suitor (and his band of soldiers) comes calling to her castle, Maddie's reaction was quite cute. She is torn between shock, disbelief, and attraction to her supposed intended.
But most of all, I loved that Maddie cared. She cares for this rag-tag group of men; some scarred either mentally or physically, others forgotten, lost from their homes and families forever. To see Maddie quickly moving from shock and irritation over this invasion of Scottish warriors, to gentleness and willingness to give them back home and sense of purpose, it would be impossible not to love Miss Madeleine Gracechurch, soon to be Mrs. MacKenzie, if her trumped-up suitor has any say in it.
Logan MacKenzie is a Scottish warrior come to claim the woman who claimed him first. Yes, Logan is braw, sexy...but, I have to say Logan's physical attributes are the least sexy thing about him. It's in his actions, his devotion, in his heart. He loves to read, for chrissakes. Now, I would love to proclaim every single reason I loved this character, but I'm not. And that is not because I'm a lazy reviewer (even though that is sometimes the case), but because a large part of this book's appeal is uncovering Logan for yourself. What causes this man to lead his band of broken brothers to this castle after so many years at war, why does he brush off the slightest affections, and, why does he not dream? I swear, if you come out of this book not loving Logan MacKenzie, you should probably see a physician about your heart.
As with the entire Castles Ever After series, this installment is witty and so very fun. Maddie's spinster Aunt Thea is devilishly charming, with a few secrets of her own. Logan's men always brought bawdy charm to the story, along with tenderness and more than a few tears. I loved When a Scot Ties the Knot. I loved every.single.word.
Maddie and Logan might have been each other's dream come true, but Tessa Dare, you are a reader's dream come true. Thank you....more
"In that moment, Clio looked inside her heart. It was the clearest glimpse she’d ever had. She saw the entirety of her future. Their future. The castl"In that moment, Clio looked inside her heart. It was the clearest glimpse she’d ever had. She saw the entirety of her future. Their future. The castle, the brewery. Children. Christmases and Easters and summer rain. They’d always have rain."
Say Yes to the Marquess was such a fun book. Like the first book in the series, we have a young, unmarried woman in Regency England, inheriting a castle from "fairy godfather" Lord Lynforth. After inheriting her castle and newfound power that gives her, Clio Whitmore is a woman thoroughly finished with waiting. Finished with waiting (eight years!) on her erstwhile fiancé to finally come home and marry her; finished waiting on her life to begin; finished with letting her family and society hurt her; finished waiting on a first kiss. I appreciated the depth the author gave Clio, and the character growth that resulted in her moving away from family doormat to home owner, business owner, and decider of her own fate.
Rafe Brandon is a second son, revered prizefighter, Clio's would-be brother-in-law, and he's determined to see his brother finally marry her. He's also been in love with Clio his whole life. One again, I really dig his thoroughly Tessa Dare drew her leading characters. Rafe is tormented with guilt: never the type of son his father desired, a disappointment in his education, a fighter instead of a diplomat like his brother. Rafe carries a lot of self-loathing on his shoulders, and interestingly, it seemed he might have had ADHD, or something similar. I often find book heroes like Rafe to be tiring (you know, the dudes with Secret Pain), but not in this case.
I liked Rafe and Clio together. A lot. The chemistry was damn electric, was given time to develop and grow strong. Each brought so much love strength, and promise to the relationship. I believed.
Say Yes to the Marquess was fun, making mr giggle multiple times. Mr. Montague and Phoebe were particularly good for comic relief. Bless Phoebe for researching "marital relations" for her older sister. Bless Mr. Montague and his ridiculous monocle.
On a personal note, I couldn't have been more grateful for the laughs and love this book gave me. My family experienced an unexpected death today. After hours of tears and thoughts and questions, I decided to try and read a bit. I did not think it would go well because I had a horrible headache and could not concentrate. But, I found myself getting back into the story, losing my thoughts, and even smiling.