Thursday, February 21, 2013

How to Marry a Duke

Tristan, the Duke of Shelbourne is a man with a mission: find a wife he can tolerate as long as they both shall live. Love is not necessary--nor desired. But how to choose among a dizzying array of wealthy-yet-witless candidates? Hire London's infamously prim and proper matchmaker. Then pretend she's not the most captivating woman he's ever met... 
Helping a devilish Duke create a contest to pick his perfect mate is the kind of challenge Tessa Mansfield relishes. Her methods may be scandalous, but she's determined to find the notorious bachelor more than a wife--she'll bring him true love. Yet when Tessa watches the women vie for the Duke's affections, she longs to win his heart herself. And after a stolen kiss confirms Tristan's desire, Tessa knows she has broken a matchmaker's number one rule: never fall in love with the groom.
It's the historical version of The Bachelor! Oh my goodness!  I had a laugh out loud when I noticed it,  it didn't even dawn on me that it could have been that by the above blurb.  Anyway, after that little shock, I got into the story.  I enjoyed the characters, found them believable, if not a little over the top at times, but there are a few characters that I hope will see in future books. Both Tristan and Tessa are strong individuals, and together they were a powerhouse, the chemistry between was believable, I just wish they came to their senses earlier.

I'm looking forward to reading the next book of the series, How to Seduce a Scoundrel.

How to Marry a Duke by Vicki Dreiling (4/5) Historical Romance; Published: Forever (1/2011); Series: # 1, How To; New Author; Library; Books 2013 (18); 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Loving Lady Marcia

In the House of Brady, three very lovely girls have hair of gold—and hearts to match—but finding a match among the gentlemen of London is one comedy of errors that could bring down the house… 
Marcia Gets Schooled… 
Of the three Brady sisters, Lady Marcia has always seemed the girl most likely to lead a perfectly charmed life. But after a handsome cad breaks her heart, she swears off love and devotes her life to teaching girls at a private school. In spite of her family’s wish for a London debut, Marcia is happy where she is—until terrible news sends her back to the Brady clan…and into the arms of an unexpected suitor. 
On The Subject Of Love 
A dark and dashing earl who knows Marcia’s past, Duncan Lattimore is surprised by what a fascinating and independent woman she’s become. Marcia, too, is surprised—by the fiery attraction she feels for Duncan. But why—why—must he be the brother of the scoundrel who broke her heart? Why must Marcia’s rival at school forbid her from seeing him? How can this lady possibly resist this fellow—when they know that it’s much more than a hunch…

Oh my goodness! I struggled with this book.  I have read previous books written by the author, which I've enjoyed, but for some reason I couldn't get into this story.  I love independent heroines, but Marcia was way too extreme, which made me utter a few choice words every now and again.  I enjoyed Duncan, he was caring and supportive and he adored Marcia and she was not very nice to him at times.  I couldn't see them together.  

I'm not sure if I will even bother reading the rest of the series.

Loving Lady Marcia by Kieran Kramer (2/5) Historical Romance; Published: St. Martin's Paperbacks (8/2012); Series: # 1, House of Brady; Library; Books 2013 (17);

Monday, February 18, 2013

How to Dance with a Duke

What’s a wallflower to do when she’s suddenly in need of a husband? Use all the pluck and moxie she can muster to get what she wants… 
Miss Cecily Hurston would much rather explore the antiquities of Egypt than the uncharted territory of marriage. But the rules of her father’s exclusive academic society forbid her entrance unless she weds one of its members. To clear her ailing father’s name of a scandalous rumor, Cecily needs to gain admission into the Egyptian Club—and is willing to marry any old dullard to do it. 
Lucas Dalton, Duke of Winterson, is anything but dull. He’s a dashing and decorated war hero determined to help Cecily—even if that means looking the other way when she claims the dance card of Amelia Snow, this season’s most sought-after beauty. But Lucas has a reason for wanting Cecily to join the Egyptian Club: His brother went missing during one of Lord Hurston’s expeditions to Egypt. An alliance with the explorer’s bluestocking daughter could bring Lucas closer to the truth about what happened…or it could lead him to a more dangerous love than either he or Cecily could have imagined….
I'm in a romance type of mood.  I'm not blaming it on Valentine's Day, I'm blaming it on the amount of romance novels that are accumulating on my night stand.

I enjoy reading romance novels that don't have the traditional perfect heroine, beautiful, titled and more than money than she knows what to do with it.  I love the fiery, intelligent, woman who has no issues with speaking her mind.  Cecily is that type of heroine.  Not only was she intelligent, she's courageous and funny.  And she's a breathe of fresh air, especially for Lucas.  As a couple I found them to be great together, chemistry wasn't lacking, it was pretty hot.  The mystery itself of who was behind the rumors and disappearance was not a complete surprise to me, I enjoyed it.

How to Dance with a Duke by Manda Collins (4/5) Historical Romance; Published: St. Martin's Paperbacks (2/2012); Series: # 1, Ugly Ducklings; New Author; Library; Books 2013 (16);

Sunday, February 17, 2013

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover

Lady Philippa Marbury is odd. The bespectacled, brilliant fourth daughter of the Marquess of Needham and Dolby cares more for books than balls, flora than fashion and science than the season. Nearly engaged to Lord Castleton, Pippa wants to explore the scandalous parts of London she's never seen before marriage. And she knows just who to ask: the tall, charming, quick-witted bookkeeper of The Fallen Angel, London's most notorious and coveted gaming hell, known only as Cross. 
Like any good scientist, Pippa's done her research and Cross's reputation makes him perfect for her scheme. She wants science without emotion—the experience of ruination without the repercussions of ruination. And who better to provide her with the experience than this legendary man? But when this odd, unexpected female propositions Cross, it's more than tempting . . . and it will take everything he has to resist following his instincts—and giving the lady precisely what she wants.
I've been not so patiently waiting for this book since I read the first book of Sarah MacLean's The Rules of Scoundrels series, A Rogue by Any Other Name. I enjoyed the first book, a lot. And my expectations for the second book were very high.  And I'm very happy to say that my expectations were met and exceeded.  I loved this book! 

Both the main characters, Pippa and Cross, were wonderful.  Pippa is what people think as odd, she is more interested in botany and anatomy than social graces; Cross is self exiled from society because of an accident he believes that he caused, wants no part of the Ton, he also has a protective streak which is very endearing.   When Pippa approaches him to help with her research, he refuses, but he cannot get her out of his mind. He finds Pippa a breathe of fresh air, and ever so tempting.

The steam level in this book is out of this world! Their romance is sizzling, they definitely do not lack chemistry. Hot, hot and hot...
“I am going to ruin you, Pippa. I shall show you pleasure you’ve never known, the kind you’ve never dreamed. Over and over and over until you beg me never to stop.”
See what I mean?

The next book, Temple's story (squee moment!) is coming out in late August, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished.  

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean (5/5) Historical Romance; Published: Avon (1/2013); Series: # 2, The Rules of Scoundrels; Format: Ebook for Kindle; New Release 2013 (1); Favorite Reads 2013; Books 2013 (15); 

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Princess and the Peer

When a royal summons from her brother arrives, Emma knows it’s time to embrace her duties as the princess of a small European kingdom, and marry the man her brother has chosen for her…a stranger she has never met. Instead she does what any self-respecting princess would do—she runs away. All she wants is one week in London. One week to experience everything life has to offer, before she is locked away in a loveless marriage forever… 
Former naval captain Nick Gregory has inherited a title he never wanted. As the new Earl of Lyndhurst, he chafes against his landlocked existence—until fate brings a mysterious young beauty across his path. Believing she’s an unemployed governess, Nick offers shelter and protection to the captivating girl, never guessing her true identity. 
Emma falls hard for Nick, but knowing they have no future, she flees once more—this time back to her royal responsibilities. But when she and Nick unexpectedly meet again, she learns that against all odds, he’s determined to make this princess his bride…
Princess Emmaline of Rosewald, wants just one week of freedom, before her brother announces her engagement to a much older man. She wants to experience London the way a regular person can and not as a princess with all the ceremony.  On her first day as a free woman she meets Dominic Gregory, Earl of Lyndhurst, who helps her out.  Nick, is a former naval captain, who is a reluctant earl.  He rather be out on his boat, but he's responsible to a fault and he tries to help anyone in need.  They develop a friendship of sorts, and soon those feeling deepen as well as the attraction between them. Emma knows that she needs to put a stop to those feelings, she is resolved to keep her promise to her brother even if she has to hurt the man she loves.  

I wasn't expecting much.  Just a sweet love story.  And that's exactly what I got, a sweet love story, but with a lot of steam.  Which I thoroughly enjoyed!

The Princess and the Peer by Tracy Anne Warren (4/5) Historical Romance; Published: Signet (4/2012); Series: # 1, The Princess Brides; Library; Books 2013 (14);

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Secret Keeper

1961 England. Laurel Nicolson is sixteen years old, dreaming alone in her childhood tree house during a family celebration at their home, Green Acres Farm. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and then observes her mother, Dorothy, speaking to him. And then she witnesses a crime. 
Fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress, living in London. She returns to Green Acres for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday and finds herself overwhelmed by memories and questions she has not thought about for decades. She decides to find out the truth about the events of that summer day and lay to rest her own feelings of guilt. One photograph, of her mother and a woman Laurel has never met, called Vivian, is her first clue. 
The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams, the lengths some people go to fulfill them, and the strange consequences they sometimes have. It is a story of lovers, friends, dreamers and schemers, play-acting and deception told against a backdrop of events that changed the world.

I was hooked right from the beginning.  This was a book that wouldn't allow me to stop reading, just one more chapter, just one more before I go to bed. And it so it went for a few hours until I realized the time, almost two in morning, and then I reluctantly put it down.  I resumed reading the first chance I got. And then I was done.

I loved the way the author transported me back to a time of conflict and hope,  that how it made me feel during the WWII scenes.  I love how well written all the character were, some good, some nosy, some catty and some down right mean.  I think it was a combination of all of this along with mystery of Dorothy and Vivian that kept me enthralled in the story.  I have to say I did figure it out at the beginning, but the author kept me second guessing throughout the story.  The ending felt right, even though I wanted a little bit more.  

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (5/5) Historical Fiction; Published: Atria Books (10/2012); Favorite Reads 2013; Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2013 (5); Library; Books 2013 (13);

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is Top Ten Romances in Books.  It can include the most romantic couples, or your favorite romance novels.  I'm going to stick with my favorite romance novels.  I have so many that I love, it was hard to narrow it down to just ten.  But here they are, my Top Ten Romances

8.  Ransom by Julie Garwood

7.  Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

6.  He Loves Lucy by Susan Donovan

5.  Romancing Mr Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

4.  Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean

3.  The Bride by Julie Garwood

2.  Persuasion by Jane Austen

1.  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen  

What are your favorite romance novels? Or your favorite romantic couple?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Barnacle Love

At the heart of this collection of intimately linked stories is the relationship between a father and his son. A young fisherman washes up nearly dead on the shores of Newfoundland. It is Manuel Rebelo who has tried to escape the suffocating smallness of his Portuguese village and the crushing weight of his mother’s expectations to build a future for himself in a terra nova. Manuel struggles to shed the traditions of a village frozen in time and to silence the brutal voice of Maria Theresa da Conceicao Rebelo, but embracing the promise of his adopted land is not as simple as he had hoped. 
Manuel’s son, Antonio, is born into Toronto’s little Portugal, a world of colourful houses and labyrinthine back alleys. In the Rebelo home the Church looms large, men and women inhabit sharply divided space, pigs are slaughtered in the garage, and a family lives in the shadow cast by a father’s failures. Most days Antonio and his friends take to their bikes, pushing the boundaries of their neighbourhood street by street, but when they finally break through to the city beyond they confront dangers of a new sort

I inhaled this book in one sitting!  Once I began reading it, I couldn't put it down.  I was swept into someplace very familiar to me.  As a Portuguese Canadian I can identify with so much that the author has written.

The book is divided into two parts.  The first half is narrated by Manuel. Manuel is the apple of his mother's eye, the one she hopes that will succeed in life, the one that will be important in their small village in Sao Miguel, Acores, Portugal.  But Manuel has his own dreams, he doesn't want what his mother so dearly wants for me.  He signs up to be a fisherman in a big ship, which brings him north, where in a freak accident he washes up on the coast of Newfoundland. A series of events leave him confused and angry, the hope that always had seems to be diminishing.  He soon feels like his dreams are all slipping through his fingers.

The second is narrated by Antonio, Manuel's son.  Like his mother before him, Manuel has high hopes and dreams for Antonio. For Antonio growing up in Little Portugal in Toronto is a confusing time.  It like being caught between the old ways of the old country with a new ways of the new country.  Which I completely understand, very well.  I know the feeling of going to school and kids asking me if I ate fish all the time, or being sent traditional Portuguese dish for lunch at but just wanting to fit by having a Wonder bread sandwich.  I understand the feeling of not quite living up to what the parent expects.

I read this book for a challenge, Portuguese Historical Fiction Challenge, hosted by Ana from Aneca's World.

Barnacle Love by Anthony de Da (4.5/5) Historical Fiction; Published: Doubleday Canada (2008); New Author; Portuguese Historical Fiction Challenge 2013 (1); Favorite Reads 2013; Library; Books 2013 (12);

Sunday, February 10, 2013

One Thread Pulled

When the wealthy and handsome Fitzwilliam Darcy encounters the beautiful and lively Elizabeth Bennet at a small country ball, he loudly refuses to dance with her, declaring her to be merely tolerable. Fortunately for Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth has walked away and does not overhear his insult, thus snagging the thread that would have sealed her prejudice against the prideful stranger. 
Unexpectedly, circumstances thrust Elizabeth into the same household as Mr. Darcy, and her proximity unwittingly proves tempting, as her tantalizing wit and playfulness evoke desires that threaten to unravel his resolve against her.

I'm always on the lookout for variations on Pride and Prejudice, and this book sounded promising when I was shopping around on Amazon last summer, I've had One Thread Pulled by Diana J. Oaks on my Kindle's TBR shelf since then. I tend to read them as soon as I get them, but some titles get forgotten, and for some reason this one was one of them.  I guess I needed a reason to read it and Pride & Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge was as good a reason as any to read it...finally.

I really enjoyed this adaptation of Pride & Prejudice.  It felt like that the author tried to stay true to the original with the sequence of events but making them different without making it feel far fetched. 

The characters were written as what I would expect them to be.  I loved the way that Darcy and Elizabeth developed a somewhat strong friendship before he declared himself to her.  I loved the way that both were struggling with their feelings and having anything they could speak to.  I loved seeing that Mary had a stronger presence in this book, I always felt like she was the forgotten daughter, that she needed a chance to shine, she bloomed and had her chance to shine.  I also enjoyed Caroline's obsession with Darcy, wanting to make him jealous and he was completely oblivious to what was going on.

The story moved well, there didn't seem to be any staled moments where I wanted to rush through.  My only complaint was that the ending felt rushed and incomplete.  I wonder if there will be a sequel?  Because it was left open by the author.

One Thread Pulled by Diana J. Oaks (4.5/5) Historical  Romance; P&P adaptation; Published: CreateSpace (8/2012); New Author; Format: Ebook for Kindle; Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge (2); Books 2013 (11);

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Library Loot: February 7 to 13

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

I didn't realize I had so many books on hold for me.  My goodness they all came at the same time.  Here's what came home with me this weekend:

I think I may have bitten more than I can chew....

For more loot visit here.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Lady Most Willing...

During their annual Christmas pilgrimage to Scotland to visit their aged uncle in his decrepit castle, the Comte de Rocheforte and his cousin, Earl of Oakley, are presented with unique gifts: their uncle has raided an English lord's Christmas party and kidnapped four lovely would-be brides for his heirs to choose from well as one very angry duke, Lord Bretton. As snow isolates the castle, and as hours grow into days, the most honourable intentions give away to temptations as surprising as they are irresistible.
Funny thing, I placed a hold on this book, and somehow I forgot about doing so.  I then bought the ebook, and forgot about that as well.  I only found out about my blunder this morning when checking for my Kindle shelves.  Oh my goodness...I cannot believe I did that.

I enjoyed the book, it was a quick read and it had alot of the elements that I expect from Julia Quinn, Eloisa James and Connie Brockway. It had the humor, the quirky banter between characters, and little twists and turns to the story that moving well.  I'm curious about which sections the authors wrote.  I think I can tell the difference, considering how often I read these authors, but I would love a definite answer.  I believe my favorite love story was the first one, Catriona and Bretton's story. They're both strong willed people and they're attracted to each other, they just need to face their feelings.

The Lady Most Julia Quinn, Eloisa James and Connie Brockway (3/5) Historical Romance; Published: Avon (12/2012); Format: Ebook for Kindle; Books 2013 (10)