An Inconvenient Kiss was an unusual historical romance as it wasn't set in the ballrooms of the ton, and I enjoyed this change of pace immensely. It w...moreAn Inconvenient Kiss was an unusual historical romance as it wasn't set in the ballrooms of the ton, and I enjoyed this change of pace immensely. It was lush and exotic and the perfect summer escape read.
Georgianna Phillips was enjoying the season and batting off the suitors when one indiscretion forced her from her charmed life. When Georgianna refused to name the man that kissed her, she was shipped off to France to live with her cousin. Over the years Georgianna has managed to make a life for herself and her cousin by assisting their grandfather in writing his travel journals. She has seen far more of the world than she would have as a sheltered young lady, but rumours of her wild lifestyle continue to follow her, giving her an unwarranted reputation.
When her grandfather decides to visit India, Georgianna is forced to deal with her past when Simon Ashford is ordered to usher her around the city. His real mission, outlined by Georgianna's brother, is to make sure that she stays out of trouble and bring no more scandal to her family's name. The problem is that Simon was the man Georgianna kissed, and she refused his subsequent proposal of marriage (who want to marry out of duty anyway?). However, neither has forgotten their connection and an Indian adventure might just be the perfect way to rekindle their romance.
An Inconvenient Kiss was a fun read. I loved the Indian setting and I'm fascinated and interested in colonialism during this period. While An Inconvenient Kiss didn't recognize the negative aspects of the British in Indian, the atmosphere was one I enjoyed reading about. I think the character's attitude's towards this new land was fairly common. Georgianna's grandfather was an explorer, and while they wanted to showcase local customs, they were always aware of their audience and the dark side of British colonialism doesn't sell. That said, the author did a fantastic job of creating an exotic atmosphere. India became more than window dressing, which I think is frequently the case in historicals set in a foreign land.
Setting the locale aside, I was left with mixed feelings about the romance. It's clear from the start that Georgianna and Simon have chemistry and the antagonist relationship when they meet again was great, but it got old quickly. The lack of trust on Georgianna's part was frustrating since Simon did all that he could to prove himself to her. I would have liked to have seen Georgianna's trust issues resolved a bit sooner and I think it would have made this a stronger romance overall.
I also had an issue with Georgianna's brother, Nath. He was absolutely terrible to her and always the first one to believe the rumours about her scandalous past, despite the fact that there was absolutely no basis in fact for them. Naturally, Georgianna is not to pleased to be back in her brother's proximity. She's more than aware that her brother isn't out to protect her but the family name. Yet, but the end, the two seem to have teamed up and reached a reconciliation. For me, this seemed out of character and to have very little basis on any real forgiving feelings between the two of them. I was really interested in the brother-sister relationship and would have actually have liked Georgianna to have knocked some sense into Nath - someone needs to. Perhaps there's another book in the works with Nath learning his lesson?
Lastly, I feel I have to mention Georgianna's beauty, mainly because it was brought up so frequently throughout the novel. From the start, Georgianna is considered a beauty, one that attracts the male gaze, and because of the way she looks, everyone assumes that she's free with her favours. On one hand, I liked the fact that it was brought home that you can't judge a person on their appearance; however, I felt the mentioning of Georgianna's beauty got a tad repetitive. Everyone was falling over themselves in Georgianna's presence and I'm just not sure I'm convinced that so many people (ie. men) would be so foolish. Simon was obviously set up as the only sensible option and a refreshing change for Georgianna.
Ultimately, this was a fun read. The adventure in the Indian jungle was amusing and the entire book was fast-paced. While I thought there were some areas for improvement, I do think this is a great book for some escapist reading. The author is one that I will continue to watch for.
More like a 3.5/5. It was fun but I felt the ending was a little lackluster.
I tracked down Beyond Sunrise after realizing Candice Proctor is also the...moreMore like a 3.5/5. It was fun but I felt the ending was a little lackluster.
I tracked down Beyond Sunrise after realizing Candice Proctor is also the wonderful author, C.S. Harris (of the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries). I had no idea that Harris also wrote historical romances under another name, so I had to check one out considering how obsessed I am with the St. Cyr series. While there was a lot to like in Beyond Sunrise I do think the author's mystery series is much stronger.
India McKnight is a travel writer and she has come to the South Pacific to work on a new piece. Unluckily, India stumbles into a bit of a trap that's been set for reluctant guide, Jack Ryder, who is a wanted man. When she's taken hostage by the brash Jack she soon learns there's more to the events that have put a price on Jack's head, and there's much more behind that man's careless smile.
For his part, Jack's not all that thrilled to be dragging India around. He's not a fan of her prim and spinsterish ways, but like India learns about him, Jack also discovers that there's more to India than she appears on first meeting. Thankfully for both of them, the British navy and cannibals are hunting them down, forcing the pair into closer contact. The more time they spend together, the more they realize that the other might just be what they are looking for.
Overall, I thought Beyond Sunrise was a nice beach read. I'm happy to have read it, but I don't think it's one that will stick out in my memory. What I did like was the sense of adventure and exotic locale that was part of Beyond Sunrise. Readers were treated to a great setting and with this author, it was more than window dressing. One of the things I love most about the St. Cyr mysteries is the rich historical London setting; Harris does an amazing job of conveying daily life in the Regency era. This sense of place is no different in Beyond Sunrise. The setting was lush and exotic and it became part of the story in Beyond Sunrise.
India and Jack were both interesting characters, and their bantering dynamic was amusing, and reminded me of several movies that I've included at the end of this post. India especially was an interesting character. In a lot of ways she reminded me of Hero from the St. Cyr series, which I liked. She also reminded me of Amity, also a travel writer, from Amanda Quick's Otherwise Engaged. However, when I finished the book I realized the characters both seemed a little one dimensional, which was disappointing because I find Harris' characters from St. Cyr to be so well developed. For both India and Jack I found that certain things from their past were just dropped in to make them seem like they had more depth, but in each case these past experiences weren't used to their full effect. I'll go into that, so be warned, spoilers ahead.
(view spoiler)[With India, it's stated on a number of occasions that she lost her virginity just because her rational mind wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Okay, that's fine. But I felt that that experience kept being used by India as something that's made her the way she is and how she views relationships. The reader never finds out more about this apparently defining moment in India's life, so in a way I question how important this really was to India, making me think she's more of a flat character. I applaud the author for not making India's past relationship a big deal in her new one, but I did feel that it would have made sense to be explored a bit more.
Now with Jack his past was explored a little bit more. He had a wife and daughter and when the navy came to retrieve him after learning that he was alive after falling over board, his wife was killed. In his guilt, Jack leaves his daughter behind and goes on the run. In this sense, I think that Jack was a better developed character than India, that is, until he is reunited with his daughter. To me, this is kind of a big deal and Jack keeps saying it's a big deal, but there was never a heart-to-heart between the two. I never really felt that there was a connection between father and daughter, and I was disappointed in this since it didn't seem to ring true for the character. (hide spoiler)]
Ultimately, I liked Beyond Sunrise. The exotic location was great and it really became part of the story. What didn't work for me was the characters. Both Jack and India were fun, but they lacked depth. I still recommend it, it's a great book to read this summer if you don't get to go on vacation (armchair travel, if you will), but I wouldn't go in expecting the level of detail that some romances go into.
For my recommended movies, see my blog. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Enter to win a copy of The Duke's Holiday until June 30th, and check out my Q&A with the author, as well as a sneak peak of her next book, Thief o...moreEnter to win a copy of The Duke's Holiday until June 30th, and check out my Q&A with the author, as well as a sneak peak of her next book, Thief of Hearts, on my blog.
Okay, historical romance fans, I have a book for you. The Duke’s Holiday is an incredibly funny historical romance featuring a fabulously prudish and proper hero and a fabulously outrageous bluestocking heroine. Prepare to swoon! And laugh your head off. This one is perfect for Tessa Dare or Julia Quinn fans.
The Duke of Monford is a proper and fastidious duke. He properly does his duty to his estate. He properly engages himself to the proper duchess. And he properly investigates the Honeywell family that has been cozening him for a year. With the death of the head of the Honeywell family, the lands now revert back to Montford, a fact he relishes. This proper man is in for a rude awakening. And we, dear readers, are in for a treat.
When his man-of-affairs, Stevenage, ceases communication during his investigations at the Honeywell estate in Yorkshire, Montford has no choice but to venture into the wilds himself. This man's well-ordered world is about to be turned completely upside down.
Astrid Honeywell has been successfully hiding the death of her father for a year and continuing to manage the estate and famous brewery on her own. As her father had no son, the lands are no longer hers, but she'll be damned if her younger sisters and elderly aunt are left to their own devices. Of course, things are mightily complicated with the Duke's arrival. And Astrid is thrown for a loop with her attraction to this impossible man that alternatively dismisses and attracts her. What's a girl to do? Release the pig!
Point of fact, Astrid does not consciously use her pig against Montford, but it does contribute to a rather memorable first meeting between the romantic duo:
And as the pig passed by Montford, it decided to bash its hock against his legs, causing him to stumble backwards and land with a thwack in a puddle of mud that reached his navel.
Montford was too shocked to do anything other than sit there, staring around the stable yard and wondering if he had fallen into his worst nightmare.
Or the seventh circle of hell. (p. 53)
Little does the duke know this first mud-stained meeting is only the beginning...
Astrid is everything that the Duke avoids. She's independent and strong willed, but worst of all she's a complete mess:
There was something about this female, something he could not quite put his finger on, that was completely...well, wrong. Askew. Never mind she was dressed like a stable hand, or had hair the color of fire, or that her skin was riddled with freckles (belch!), or even that she was covered in mud. He felt the same impulse he had felt when confronted by that collection of enameled snuffboxes: the need to line something up before he screamed. (p. 52)
It seems impossible that the Duke and Astrid will ever resolve their animosity and personal differences to get to their happily ever after. But these two are thrown into one hilarious situation after another and slowly the Duke loses his stuffiness and comes to appreciate Astrid for the complex woman that she is. Both Astrid and Montford compliment each other well. Astrid helps to loosen Montford up and Montford provides some stability. They each play off the others weaknesses becoming each others perfect match, which is just what I want and expect in a romance.
While the romance was lovely, what I truly adored about The Duke's Holiday was the ridiculous antics that the hero and heroine found themselves in on every page. Yes, it's not historically accurate, but I'm not looking for accuracy in a romance. This novel delivered the expected happily ever after with a unique sense of humour that I could do with more of in my historical romance reading. The Duke is continually getting himself in impossible situations because of Astrid. He runs a drunken footrace for her. Not your usual heroic fare, but entertaining nonetheless. And the Duke does get to show his heroic sides when he races to rescue Astrid from an unwanted betrothal. The question is will he succeed?
My only complaint would be that I would have loved to have seen Montford and Astrid in London. Astrid was such an unconventional lady, I would have really liked to see how she coped with life in the limelight of the ton. It would have been interesting to see whether Montford truly has changed from his time in Yorkshire and if he would still appreciate Astrid's uniqueness in a society that wants none of that. But, I am going to choose that the Duke has changed and that these two can have their happily ever after - they've certainly gone through enough trials to deserve it!
And if you're sufficiently intrigued about the book and would like to win an e-book copy, please visit The Book Adventures on Friday for a giveaway and a Q & A with the author, and a sneak-peak at the author's upcoming book, Thief of Hearts.
Pretty standard Amanda Quick fare. If you're a fan, you're going to like this book. I found it rather formulaic, considering I've read some of her oth...morePretty standard Amanda Quick fare. If you're a fan, you're going to like this book. I found it rather formulaic, considering I've read some of her other books, but it was just what I was looking for and what I was expecting. (less)
A Dangerous Madness is Diener’s third book in her Regency London historical mystery series. I haven’t read the previous two books in the series; howe...moreA Dangerous Madness is Diener’s third book in her Regency London historical mystery series. I haven’t read the previous two books in the series; however, I don’t feel that it impacted my reading of A Dangerous Madness. There were some small references to previous books and the characters from them, but this one can be read as a stand-alone novel.
The Duke of Wittaker has recently stepped back at the ripe old age of twenty-seven (if I calculated correctly) from his career as a spy. At his father’s urging, James ingratiated himself with a certain set of people in order to gain information to pass onto the government. As a result, James has a reputation as a rake and all-around disreputable guy. At the beginning of the novel, he’s pulled back into the spy game when the Prime Minister, Spencer Perceval is assassinated in 1812, by John Bellingham.
Through the course of his investigation James runs into Miss Phoebe Hillier, a wealthy heiress that has just been abandoned by her unwanted fiancé. It seems that the fiancé may be involved in the assassination. Due to James rather tarnished reputation, Phoebe is reluctant to trust James and initially doesn’t provide him with all the information that she has. All that changes when her life is threatened. Both James and Phoebe will need to trust and work with the other to find the truth behind Bellingham’s motives for the assassination, and protect Phoebe’s life.
I think the copy description of A Dangerous Madness is slightly misleading. The synopsis does make you think this is going to be your standard historical romance with an intrigue subplot. However, I argue that this is more of historical mystery than a romance. The mystery tackles a possible conspiracy behind the assassination of Spencer Perceval, attributing a much more sinister plot than one man’s perceived injustice. Not knowing a whole lot of about this event; I felt that it was well plotted and believable. For me the mystery was well done, but it was quieter and less action-packed than I was expecting.
For me, what really stood out was the character of Phoebe. She was an interesting young woman and I really liked how she was portrayed. She was constrained by her status as a woman in society and I liked that this frustration was continually brought up. She was quietly fighting for her place in society, for her right to be an individual, for the right to independence:
Impotent rage, her old friend, ran a familiar hand down her back and she stiffened under its hot, prickly fingers. Why shouldn’t she speak with someone? With whomever she pleased? She was twenty-four years old, responsible, intelligent. (p. 58)
This will not the first time Phoebe expresses a quiet rebellion and I thought this was very well done. She’s not dumb, she’s aware that she has had a life of privilege, but despite all that, she yearns for more:
She knew she was privileged. That she lived in surely one of the most beautiful houses in London, and had everything she could ask for. But she would give up much of what she had for some acknowledgement of herself. Of her worth. Of her capabilities. (p. 74).
Fortunately, Phoebe is able to get the acknowledgement of her worth when she starts working with James and starts to trust in his view of her. At first, she’s shocked that he allows her to become involved and values her opinion, but she soon comes to trust in James’ unique view of her self. While the romance was rather understated in A Dangerous Madness, I really liked this idea of each character trusting in the intelligence of the other. James and Phoebe were partners and treated each other as equally as possible. Ultimately, this was the strong point for me and what will make me go back to the previous two books in the series. I want to know if the author can do the same for other characters.
A Dangerous Madness was a quiet historical mystery and romance. It drew on true events and imagined the machinations that led to that one event. For me, it was a light read and I think it would be a good fit for fans of C.S. Harris’s Sebastian St. Cyr series and my oft recommended Lady Darby series.
Just a Kiss is a short, cute, historical romance that will appeal to those how like a "Cinderella" plot line. Charlotte Lightwood has been given one s...moreJust a Kiss is a short, cute, historical romance that will appeal to those how like a "Cinderella" plot line. Charlotte Lightwood has been given one season to find a husband; otherwise she will have to marry her sister-in-law’s lecherous cousin. At her first ball, Charlotte finds herself introduced to Sebastian, the Earl of Marley, and considered to be the catch of the season. Sebastian’s grandmother’s heath has been declining and he’s promised her that he will look for a bride this season, so he strikes a bargain with Charlotte. He will pay court to her so that she will attract suitors. In return, Charlotte will pass along any helpful gossip she has about her friend, a Russian princes whom Sebastian plans on proposing to. Neither think they are a good match. Charlotte is a poor relation, and Sebastian is expected to marry someone whose social status is equal to his own. Alas, things do not unfold according to plan.
This was a cute little novella. I liked the hero and heroine; they were both nice characters (no rakes here!), and while their bargain certainly requires a certain suspension of belief, it was used effectively to bring about a believable relationship between Charlotte and Sebastian. For such a short book, I bought Charlotte and Sebastian's happily ever after.
What I could not believe was Charlotte’s treatment by her family. Her sister-in-law, Elizabeth, was a horrible guardian. She willingly created situations for Charlotte to be accosted by her cousin. Thankfully, Charlotte was strong willed enough to violently deflect the unwanted advances; however, I’m not sure that other ladies would have behaved that way during this time. Charlotte punches the cousin in the nose after he pinches her rear end, but I doubt that other well-bred ladies would have done the same thing, which kind of makes the situation terrifying in and of itself.
Overall, this little book was a lot of fun and just what I needed to get out of my reading slump today. If you’re looking for a mostly light read, this one would be a great choice.
*Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley. (less)
I didn't get very far into 'The Scandalous Love of Duke' before I knew it wasn't for me. The moment for me was when John is re-acquainted with Kate at...moreI didn't get very far into 'The Scandalous Love of Duke' before I knew it wasn't for me. The moment for me was when John is re-acquainted with Kate at his grandfather's funeral and he falls immediately into lust with her. Kate's had feelings for John for a long time as they knew each other as children; however, John's connection for Kate develops based on nothing more than her looks: "She was an English rose among orchids, the sort of woman he had seen nothing of abroad."
I could have gotten past this instant relationship had I actually liked the hero. I honestly cannot believe his reasoning for distancing himself from his family for years, it makes him seem selfish and I was confused as to why he would punish his mother and step-father and step-siblings for his grandfather's behaviour. Throw in a offer to Kate to become his mistress and I couldn't respect the hero. Yes, having the hero redeem himself is a big part of the romance genre, but this one just rubbed me the wrong way. Ultimately, this one wasn't for me and I wasn't able to finish the book.
*Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley. (less)