Tag Archives: romance

Teaser Tuesday (November 29th)

The rules:

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser:

“He cocked his head, watching as she carefully licked those lush lips, preparing her argument, no doubt. He felt the beat of the pulse beneath his skin, his body’s response to her feminine vitality.”

– p. 19 Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt (Mass-market paperback)

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Review: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie

Title: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie
Author: Jennifer Ashley
Publisher: Leisure Books
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: 2/5

Why I picked it: Came highly recommended at Smexy Books.

Synopsis: The year is 1881. Meet the Mackenzie family–rich, powerful, dangerous, eccentric. A lady couldn’t be seen with them without ruin. Rumors surround them–of tragic violence, of their mistresses, of their dark appetites, of scandals that set England and Scotland abuzz.

The youngest brother, Ian, known as the Mad Mackenzie, spent most of his young life in an asylum, and everyone agrees he is decidedly odd. He’s also hard and handsome and has a penchant for Ming pottery and beautiful women.

Beth Ackerley, widow, has recently come into a fortune. She has decided that she wants no more drama in her life. She was raised in drama–an alcoholic father who drove them into the workhouse, a frail mother she had to nurse until her death, a fussy old lady she became constant companion to. No, she wants to take her money and find peace, to travel, to learn art, to sit back and fondly remember her brief but happy marriage to her late husband.

And then Ian Mackenzie decides he wants her.

Review: Maybe this book was a prime example of myself expecting far more from a book than it delivered…and I wanted to like it SO MUCH. But nope.  As I think I wrote not too long ago in another review, all romance/fantasy/sci-fi books ask that you suspend a certain amount of belief when reading them. Where I have a problem is when events happen so fast, so perfectly, or so out-of-the blue that I find myself going “Come on! Seriously?” This book was brimming with such things – to the point where I felt Ashley was trying to cram as much different plots and sub-plots as possible. But before I start ranting and raving about the actual events that occur in the book, let me begin with the characters.

Ah, Ian Mackenzie. Tragic hero with a dubious past. Unlike other romance books, this one really makes a focus on the male lead as being unwell – not just eccentric by that time’s societal norms but really – there’s something wrong with him. I did not care for Ian at all. I didn’t like his bluntness and I did not find him endearing in the least.  I felt bad for his experiences and the reasons behind why he is the way he is but yeah…not enough for him to be desirable.

Beth, our female protagonist, came off completely unbelievable. Formerly the wife of a vicar, apparently she lost all sense of propriety just because this crazy man coaxed it out of her. I found her to be weak and generally unlikeable.

In terms of the plot – ugh. There is a murder in which Ian is the prime suspect. An overzealous detective, with a secret of his own, makes it his job to uncover the truth behind the crime and to discredit the Mackenzie family once and for all. They way everything unfolds is just so unbelievable that the last 100 or so pages had me rolling my eyes as events kept piling on and on.

The last reason why I didn’t particularly care for this book was the relationship between Ian and Beth. It wasn’t convincing – and what’s a good romance read if you can’t get behind the main love story?

Overall this was a 2-star read for me because the steamy scenes were super steamy and the book kept my attention well enough for the first half.

Review: A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas

Title: A Wallflower Christmas (Wallflowers #5)
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre:  Historical Romance
Rating:4/5

Why I picked it: Last installment of Lisa Kleypas’ amazing Wallflower series.

Synopsis: It’s Christmastime in London and Rafe Bowman has arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie Blandford, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford. His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady in waiting and, if it weren’t for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed. Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallflowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen. And winning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants. However, Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic to a romantic and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts.

Review: The first thing one notices about this conclusion to Lisa Kleypas’ awesome Wallflowers series is how short it is. It also centers around a brand-new heroine who has had no parts in any of the other novels. For these two reasons, I really thought I wasn’t going to like this book as much as I did. Not to be cliche, but it was short and sweet.

The book centers on Rafe Bowman, brother to Daisy and Lillian, who gets an ultimatum from his father to either marry Natalie, a well-bred English lady, or to lose his share of the Bowman’s huge amounts of money.  Instead of Natalie, he becomes completely captured with Hannah, who is of plainer stock.  Natalie, of course, sees him as an ill-behaved, American rake. While this center storyline is occurring, readers get a kind of “what are they doing now?” look into the lives of the previous Wallflowers. Although this book takes place almost right after the last, it was really nice to get a glimpse into those characters who we have grown really attached to.

Lisa Kleypas did a really nice job of joining a new story with glimpses into the current lives of the previous Wallflowers. The new characters were well thought-out and the old kept the same traits that made us love them in the first place. Overall, it was a really satisfying companion to the series and I would highly recommend it to anyone who has read the prior books.

Review: Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

Title: Scandal in Spring (Wallflowers #4)
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre:  Historical Romance
Rating: 3.5/5

Why I picked it: Book #4 of Lisa Kleypas’ amazing Wallflower series.

Synopsis: After spending three London seasons searching for a husband, Daisy Bowman’s father has told her in no uncertain terms that she must find a husband. Now. And if Daisy can’t snare an appropriate suitor, she will marry the man he chooses—the ruthless and aloof Matthew Swift.

Daisy is horrified. A Bowman never admits defeat, and she decides to do whatever it takes to marry someone . . . anyone . . . other than Matthew. But she doesn’t count on Matthew’s unexpected charm . . . or the blazing sensuality that soon flares beyond both their control. And Daisy discovers that the man she has always hated just might turn out to be the man of her dreams.

But right at the moment of sweet surrender, a scandalous secret is uncovered . . . one that could destroy both Matthew and a love more passionate and irresistible than Daisy’s wildest fantasies.

Review:  I hate to admit it but this was probably my least favorite book in the Wallflower series. Then again, it’s hard to follow “Devil in Winter,” which is likely one of the best romance books I have read in some time.

This book is focused upon Daisy Bowman, the last Wallflower left without a husband. Daisy is a character I can relate to. She’s cute, witty, and bookish. Best of all, she does not give off an air of “damsel in distress” and desperation that is often found in other romance books.

The book begins with an ultimatum: Either Daisy marry Matthew Swift, a trusted business partner of her father, or she finds someone else to marry before the Bowman family returns back to New York permanently. As with every historical romance book I have read, there is required a certain suspension of facts and general beliefs. This one was pretty bad on that front.

For one, Matthew Swift spends a large portion of the book denying Daisy for reasons untold, until we get to the end of the book. Instead of being satisfied with this plot-line being wrapped up, I was more saying to myself “Really? That’s why? That’s umm..silly.” Also in this book, more than the other Wallflower books, I found myself asking “Why is it so hard for her to find a husband?” Not only is Daisy beautiful, but she’s also obscenely rich! The other Wallflowers genuinely had things that may be off-putting to snobby gentlemen callers (a stutter, a brash personality, or a lack of money). Daisy just is imaginative and likes books.

Overall, this may not have been a bad read as a stand-alone. I can’t really rate it down much because Lisa Kleypas really knows how to write a damn good romance book, and I did find myself smiling or giggling at certain points. The problem is that it’s in line with three other books in the Wallflowers series that are all just so damned good that it’s hard for me to rate this one higher.

In My Mailbox #1

Today in the mail, I received a copy of Karen Essex‘s “Dracula in Love,” which I won thanks to Misty over at The Book Rat. I’m really excited to read it, but do have to wonder if I should read the original “Dracula” first in order to gain a full appreciation of this re-telling. As soon as I do, I’m sure you’ll see my review here!