Tag: Romance book bingo 2017 (page 1 of 2)

Winner! Romance Book Bingo 2017!

Originally published http://oblue.booklikes.com/post/1537184/winner-romance-book-bingo-2017  on March 1, 2017.

Rane Aria (1-3)(7 & 8)

Sheri C (4)

Leah Bookish Obsession (5)

Melissa (6)

Whiskey in the Jar Romance (9-13)

Tea, Rain, Book (14-18)

Rachel’s books (19)


Woot! Whiskey in the Jar Romance! Come on down to get your prize!!!

 

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Thank you once again to everyone who participated!

 

Moonspun Magic by Catherine Coulter

Moonspun Magic by Catherine CoulterMoonspun Magic by Catherine Coulter
Published by Signet on May 4th 2004 (first published August 1988)
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 416
Source: Purchased: print book
Goodreads
three-half-stars

She felt his tongue gently stroke her lips...and his hands, caressing her shoulders, moved downward to mold her hips. "No, please," she said, sobbing with desire...

Beautiful Victoria Abermarle feared and fled the imperious desires of handsome Damien Carstairs, Baron Drago. But there was no escaping her own desires when she was rescued on the lawless highways of Regency England by Damien's identical twin, Rafael Carstairs.

Though Rafael matched the strength and daring, he was gentle where Damien was violent, caring where Damien was callous. The icy terror that Damien inspired melted in the flames of passion that Rafael ignited. And in a whirlwind of adventure, intrigue, and danger that set brother against brother and good against evil, Victoria fought to make the overwhelming power and glorious fulfillment of love the winner...

Trigger warning: Rape. 

I read this for Romance Book Bingo 2017: Twins square. 

I have to say that the third book in this trilogy is my favorite. Maybe because this book calls back a location from one of Coulter’s medieval books, I want to say “Fire Song”. I have to look it up. Either way, I loved the little Easter eggs that are dropped. Plus we get to see characters we have known now through two other books. I really did enjoy that Frances/Hawk seem very much in love. So you can kind of block out the horribleness of the first book now. Plus I really enjoyed the heroine/hero in this one. For those who are looking for “Virgin Best First Time ” square, you can use this book for that one as well.

Our heroine Victoria flees from her sister’s husband Damien Carstairs, Baron Drago. Yeah he apparently thinks that rape is not that big a deal. Do not get me started on Victoria’s appalling sister as well. I ended up feeling sorry for her, since it’s pretty apparent her marriage to Damien is awful and on some weird level she likes it. When Victoria runs away she ends up being rescued by Damien’s twin brother Rafael. Readers meet Rafael in the second book in the Magic Trilogy, so it was nice to see him get his own story-line. As good as Rafael is, we get to see though that Damien is awful.

Rafael is gentle and kind and decides he is going to do whatever is necessary to keep Damien from hurting Victoria. You can see that it pains him to see that his brother seems to just be “wrong” and not care. And Damien seems to loathe Rafael for having the same face. Yeah, there was some weird twin stuff happening in this book. There is also some grossness though with Rafael trying to control Victoria through sex.

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And there is some jealousy of Rafael believing his brother that perhaps Victoria was really with him sexually which I was wondering about his intelligence at this point. Rafael tries to play a trick on Victoria, but as we quickly find out though, Victoria is able to tell Rafael and Damien apart from each other simply by how her body responds. I guess if one man tried to rape me I would always be on edge around him.

There are some familiar and beloved secondary characters in this one. I absolutely loved Frances and Lyon’s aunt in this one. The men, meh to you. They were fine, but the women really shine.

There is a secondary plot going on with men abducting young women in the area and raping them. So yeah, stay away if you don’t want to hear some terrible men’s justifications for what they are doing. And weirdly this book made me think of Nora Roberts “Brotherhood in Death” which had that same type of plot in it.  I really wasn’t happy with the final resolution to that storyline, but I get it though, the times were that things like that were not seen as a great deal until a girl of quality is kidnapped. Apparently when it was the poor it was a hard shrug.

The writing was okay, but the plot with the gross club kidnapping and raping women take up a great deal of the book. I did like the love scenes. Give me a good love scene and I am usually all over a book.

I think the flow was okay too, nothing to complain about there. Even though I have read this book a million times (exaggerating) it always feels new to me. Maybe because this ended up being my favorite couple out of the three couples who are featured.

three-half-stars

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Lock and Key by Sarah DessenLock and Key by Sarah Dessen
Published by Speak on May 14th 2008
Genres: Romance, YA
Pages: 444
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
five-stars

"Ruby, where is your mother?" Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she's been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return. That's how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn't seen in ten years, and Cora's husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future—it's a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?

What can I really say. I loved this book to pieces. It’s been a while since I can say that a book was picture perfect from beginning to end, but I really did find this book worked great. I had no issues with the writing, dialogue, plot, setting or pacing. I went and borrowed a ton of other Sarah Dessen books from the library as soon as I finished “Lock and Key.” I read this for the “Key to My Heart” square for Romance Book Bingo 2017.

The main character in “Lock and Key” is Ruby Conner. Ruby is a senior at Jackson High School living in North Carolina. Through bits and pieces we find out that Ruby was in foster care temporarily after it becomes known that she is living alone and her mother is nowhere to be found. Placed with her older sister Cora that she hasn’t seen in years, “Lock and Key” is really Ruby’s journey learning to figure out what it truly means to be family, and how sometimes the hardest thing to do is stay and just support someone.

I freaking loved Ruby. I mean loved her. I wanted to hug her, give her some chocolate cake, and tell her that she is awesome. I have never fallen so quickly into another teen character’s head since Harry Potter. Ruby’s vulnerability and her general belief that she could take care of herself with help from no one we see get reworked from the beginning of the book to the end. Ruby and Cora’s shaky relationship due to Ruby’s belief that her sister had abandoned her we also see slowly changes through the course of the book. I loved that Dessen didn’t just throw out hey Ruby you are wrong from other characters either. Ruby had to see and feel that her way or really her mother’s way of acting was just not what she needed anymore. Ruby’s reluctant friendship with Nate also got me too. I loved how she got to see that someone who she thought had a perfect life, really did not, and that her just saying this is too hard, was actually not what he or she needed.

All of the secondary characters got to shine in this too. I loved Nate. Man oh man, his backstory regarding his mother and his father was just heartbreaking. A kid who doesn’t want to be in the situation he is, but doing the best he can until he is 18 and can be free.

Ruby’s sister Cora was also such a great character. There is a scene when Cora’s husband Jamie is rightfully angry and yelling at Ruby, and Cora steps in front of her like she did when they were kids and their mom was on a tear. I wanted to hug them both. We get to see that Cora is just as unsettled having what she considers a “good” life and not being used to things like huge family dinners, Christmas cards, etc.

I loved Harriet and Reggie, and heck pretty much everyone. Well except for Ruby’s old friends at Jackson who she got to see for herself were not true blue friends at all.

The writing takes a look at a lot of things. Drug and alcohol abuse, child abuse, and even abandonment. Dessen does a good job of not prettying things up which I appreciated. I also applaud her since she writes Ruby really well. I have a hard time with some YA authors having teens talking like characters from Dawson’s Creek.

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That was always my big thing about that show, no one my age sounded that pretentious. Did we sound like asses though? Yes, all teens do at one time or the other.

The flow was great too. We pretty much get to see Ruby over a course of a school year til her graduation which I really appreciated. Spare me from books that have a character do a day/night change in a month or two. It’s not realistic. It would have been great to see Ruby in her therapy sessions, but I was happy with what we got.

The setting of Lakeview, North Carolina sounded pretty polarizing. When Ruby is transferred from Jackson to what she considers the rich kid school, I was so happy we didn’t see some Mean Girls shtick in this book. We got to see a lot of secondary characters there with tons of nuance as well.

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The ending was really great. I can picture Ruby and now her family and her family of choice. I am going to see if Dessen ever follows up on Ruby and others from this book. It looks like she revisits the town of Lakeview in a lot of books, so it be nice to see a shout out to Ruby and other characters we have met.

 

five-stars

Holly or TSTL

Holly or TSTLHolly by Jude Deveraux
Published by Pocket Books on November 2003
Genres: Romance
Pages: 288
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
half-star

Hollander "Holly" Latham can't believe her good fortune. After endless calls, letters, emails, and promises, she's finally persuaded her parents to buy Spring Hill Plantation just outside beautiful, historic Edenton in eastern North Carolina -- and strategically located near Belle Chere, the purest, most untouched plantation site in America.

At the tender age of thirteen, Holly fell in love with Lorrie Beaumont, who inherited the Revolutionary-period estate when his heiress mother died during childbirth. Though more than a decade has passed since Holly last locked eyes with her childhood love, the passion she felt in her young heart has never come close to extinguishing -- that is, until charming, ruggedly handsome Nick Taggert unexpectedly waltzes into her life and treats her to an unforgettable weekend of laughter and intense passion.

Despite Holly's undeniable attraction to this dazzling stranger, she knows he's not marriage material. What Holly doesn't know is that Nick Taggert is actually Dr. Nicholas Taggert. Having been with more than his share of women only interested in money and pedigree, Nick decides to test Holly and conceal his more refined qualities. Will Holly be seduced by Lorrie's wealth and privilege, or will she choose the simple gift of love that Nick has offered her? The answer is unveiled on a starry Christmas night, when passion, hate, and greed collide to reveal bitter truths that will forever change the course of Holly's charmed life.

With Holly, Jude Deveraux once again uses her golden touch to conjure up a tale full of dazzling intrigue and inspiring romance. It is a story for all seasons and one to remember always.

So I live blogged this book yesterday on Booklikes. I am so glad that those who followed me got to read along to what a completely messed up romance book this was. I read this for Romance Book Bingo 2017, the Too Stupid to Live (TSTL) square. I can honestly say this may be a romance first for me to also find that not only is the heroine TSTL, but the hero is as well. These two hot messes (Holly Latham and Nick Taggert) definitely deserve each other. One hopes that they managed to keep their clothes on for more than 10 minutes though. Here we go.

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So Holly (which is somehow a freaking Christmas book) is about Holly Latham and her plans to finally capture the heart of the boy next door, or at least the boy next door to her when her family vacationed in North Carolina when she was 13. Holly falls instantly in love (bingo square) with Lorrie. Lorrie is tall, blond, and everything that she could hope to have in a boyfriend and later husband. Don’t worry readers, you don’t really get what is so great about Lorrie. He pretty much gives Holly the privilege of doing work around his family’s falling down plantation. He also ignores her letters that she writes to him until she mentions a paper she did on colonial architecture. Well with the little response she gets back from the guy, Holly decides, she is going to study in order to learn how to restore homes like Lorrie’s so she can show him what a good wife she will make some day.

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So the entire freaking plot of Holly, is Holly who is now a heiress in her 20s is going to do whatever she can to show Lorrie how great she would be to him in restoring his home. Holly finds out Lorrie is now divorced and living back in his old plantation in his hometown. She decides the smartest thing to do is cause her father and stepmother to move their in order for her to use her feminine wiles on Lorrie. That’s cause Holly knows she’s attractive and is used to men hitting on her, so when Lorrie sees her he is so going to just fall at her feet. I don’t even know what to say about this. As one person asked yesterday, has she even talked to these guy at all over the years? The answer is no. Besides the short response he gave her back when she was a teenager, there was nothing at all. I would hope that if I didn’t hear from a guy for at least 10 years I would move the heck on.

That’s enough about Holly and her dumb ass intentions. Let’s move on to the hero, Tarzan Nick (TM Rane Aria). Tarzan Nick needs to get away from his practice after he dumps his fiancee for being a terrible person. Seriously, this was like three sentences in the book. Apparently Nick didn’t realize she had no soul and was only interested in his money. Tarzan Nick runs off to recoup due to the town turning against him for breaking his engagement to woman with no soul (who would even freaking care????) and stays in the barn of some random dude’s brother that just happens to be nearby where Holly will be staying. I refuse to go back and look up names, not happening. So Nick at this time is just done with women and isn’t looking for love. Or is he?

Fast forward to Holly finally arriving in town while she flits around feeling sorry for those people who are poorer than she is. I am not kidding. If you want to read about a make believe character telling another character about being a social better of everyone and that only poor loose women run around having sex with men who are not our kind dear, Holly is the book for you.

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Well Holly thinks that, but ends up seeing a guy she nicknames Heaven (it’s Tarzan Nick) on a motorcycle looking hot and sexy like Superman.

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Was I doing something? Wait a second.

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Mmmmmm.

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Oh yeah, Holly. Whatever. So she sees him and feels insta-lust (not a bingo square, should have been) and gets talked to about dirty filthy men like that by the owner’s wife. I have never read a book when other people were so up in your supposed sex life. Mind your business.

So the random thing about Holly which should be a superpower is that she can tell the age of a house by like 50 paces. I kid you not. She disdains homes built after 1980 and when she hears about a pre-revolutionary home sitting around North Carolina she goes off by herself to investigate. And promptly falls down a pit after coming across a rattlesnake.

You cannot make this mess up.

And Holly, because God knows she’s TSTL decides the smartest thing to do is to take off all of her clothes and tie them into a rope in order to try to climb out of some random 12 foot pit. Of course her clothes rip as she tries to climb out of the pit, so she falls down, and loses her clothes rope at the same time since it gets stuck on some nail or something or the other. So we now have Holly naked and shivering in boots in some pit and crawling under the debris there to stay warm.

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Along comes Tarzan Nick to save the day. Tarzan Nick tells Holly to climb up a vine he just finds and throws down his shirt and pants to her so she doesn’t get scratched as he pulls her out of the pit.

And then afterwards, he puts back on his pants, she gives his shirt, and he has to give her a piggyback ride back to his car cause he knocked her boots down the pit after she threw them up to him.

And since Holly thought she was going to die, she and Tarzan Nick (doesn’t know or ask his freaking name) proceed to go and have sex in his car. With no protection. As one does when a dude pulls you out a pit. I guess.

There is some back and forth about Holly’s parents looking for her, police, etc. it doesn’t matter though since they go off to Tarzan Nick’s place and have sex again with no protection both saying how they are not looking for love. Still have not exchanged names.

I am going to not do a full recap of this book, but this is just to give you a taste of what this book is and how it tried to break me yesterday.

Other characters are sadly one dimensional and did I mention awful? Lorrie’s reveal was hilarious to me. I mean I laughed. Holly’s stepsister Taylor was a jerk and Holly saying to herself how she’s her best friend once again gives Holly a TSTL title that she can proudly carry. Holly’s father was a snob, but since he’s an ambassador that is apparently what one does at that level? I don’t know.  This book makes no sense.

The plot about Holly catching Lorries has some flaws since she can’t stop having sex with Tarzan Nick. Also Tarzan Nick even though he tells Holly he’s not interested in her at all, gives her a family heirloom that is worth like a couple of million, applies as a gardener at her father’s home in order to be near her, and also helps her in her research into some hidden treasure that Lorrie’s family hid before the Civil War I think.

The writing is not great. I think this book came out in 2003 or 2004. Either way, this whole notion about society’s betters is ridiculous as hell. Also apparently women only are with certain men cause of the hot sex, but those men just sit around and drink and sponge off of them. This is doubly sad because Nick is richer than Holly and also a doctor, but she doesn’t know it (also a bingo square). I hated both of them for this nonsense.

The flow was awful and then Deveraux reveals a ton of things regarding some key people so I guess you can go well now Holly can love Nick forever and ever. The book also does two time jumps which made me go huh. One was a time jump to a month later or maybe it was two months (nope not looking to see) and then it jumps another six months to Christmas. This is why it was marketed as a Christmas romance novel. Do not read this book for the Christmas parts. It was at the very end an only maybe 5 percent of the total book. I know in romanceland that Christmas and romance books are a great set-up, do not do this to yourself and read this book.

The setting of North Carolina is not used well at all. Apparently old falling down plantations and buried treasure abounds though. There is no real sense of the place at all in this book except it’s always randomly cold when Holly falls down a pit or hole.

The ending was laughably bad. I won’t even get into it here, but it involves a hole, having sex on top of found treasure, and Christmas Day.

half-star

Romance Book Bingo: Update! 5 Squares Completed!

 

Reckless by Amanda Quick (Free Space)

One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews (Urban Fantasy Romance)

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West (Young Adult)

Rendezvous by Amanda Quick (Historical Romance)

Scandal by Amanda Quick (Regency Romance)

Reckless by Amanda Quick

Reckless by Amanda QuickReckless by Amanda Quick
on November 1992
Genres: Romance
Pages: 373
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
two-stars

From a crumbling fairy-tale castle on the stormy Sussex coast to a dazzling, dizzying masquerade ball comes an enchanting tale of a tarnished knight, a daring maiden, and a sweet, searing storybook love...

At sixteen, Phoebe Layton had imagined that Gabriel Banner was a brave and valiant knight, a noble-hearted hero born to rescue ladies in distress. Which is why, eight years later, when she desperately needed help to carry out a vital quest, she could think of no one more suited than Gabriel.

But when she lures her shining knight to a lonely midnight rendezvous, Phoebe finds herself sparring with a dangerously desirable man who is nothing like the hero of her dreams. And when he sweeps her into a torrid and blatantly unchivalrous embrace, she can't help but fear that she's made a dreadful mistake. It's a kiss that will seal Phoebe's fate. For now the exacting Earl of Wylde has a quest of his own--to possess the most intriguing, impulsive, outrageous female he has ever met...even if he has to slay a dragon to do it.

Yes! I am finally done with my reads of some of Amanda Quick’s earlier works (from the 90s). I think I hit peak over this two days ago though. I can’t wait to move onto some other authors. This is the same set-up of most of Quick’s earlier books. Quirky Original in her mid-20s who is in danger of “staying on the shelf” and an older male who knows he should not be attracted to said female, but is, and then denies he is falling in love with her for most of the book.

The heroine for this book is Phoebe Layton. The hero, Gabriel Banner, the new Earl of Wylde. Random comment, how come none of these dudes are ever a duke?

Phoebe and Gabriel have a weird history. Phoebe found herself at 16 falling in love with Gabriel and seeing the guy as some modern version of a knight (yeah this is a regency romance book so for Phoebe this was the modern era) and actually encouraged her older sister to run off with him to escape marrying someone she didn’t know much about. Of course running off with a woman to Greta Green is not the thing to do, Gabriel and Phoebe’s sister were caught, and then Gabriel ended up having his life ruined by Phoebe’s father and brother. They think the guy was a fortune hunter out to snare a wealthy heiress and Gabriel is forced to go off in the East (yeah that word again) to make his fortune. Cue almost a decade later and we have Phoebe and Gabriel coming face to face again due to Phoebe seeking out Gabriel for stupid reasons.

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Seriously, sometimes the heroines in Quick’s novels are painfully aggravating and Phoebe was definitely one of them for me while reading this (one of the many reasons why I just gave this 2 stars) she is still determined to have Gabriel be her knight for no reason that I can tell. I think maybe having a prologue showing Phoebe and Gabriel younger and showing maybe why Gabriel was someone that Phoebe was in love with would have made things better.  But no, we get a painfully naive Phoebe throughout this entire book.

Gabriel runs around for most of the book thinking about getting revenge against the Layton family because he can’t see why they would be upset about him running off with their daughter. I don’t even get why the guy doesn’t understand why they went out of their way to ruin him for what he tried to, no matter his justifications. Though Phoebe’s sister Meredith is not totally blameless in the whole thing, and I wish she had acknowledged she was wrong to run off with him even though Phoebe encouraged her to. Wow, I just realized that I don’t like most of the people in this story besides Phoebe’s parents and her brother. And there is a side plot about a past love from Phoebe that may be more dangerous than he appears which of course has Gabriel all riled up because he actually encountered the guy while out gaining his fortune.

There really is not much to this novel. Honestly, most of this book really is people telling Phoebe things that she doesn’t want to hear (that are true) and her saying she doesn’t know who to believe. For example, a man that Phoebe thought was in love with her that she called her Lancelot, is now back, though Gabriel knows of him and has given her information about what the guy was really up to when Phoebe thought he was off somewhere else. By the way it’s not just Gabriel that tells her about this guy, it’s her father, her mother, her brother, and her sister. I wanted to shake her after a bit.

The writing was not Quick’s best work. There are a lot of asides about Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot and how Phoebe is much smarter than Guinevere. I maybe laughed a bit about that line because I never quibbled about Guinevere not being smart, it was the whole faithless thing that was the main issue. Can I say thought that I am heartily sick of hearing about Camelot right now after reading the Mary Stewart books.

The flow was up and down. I think because Quick realized she had to add some intrigue in this one and she tried to, but it doesn’t really work. While Phoebe is whisked off to Gabriel’s home (of course it’s a freaking castle) attempts on her life are being done and this leads to Gabriel trying to keep her confined to their home so he can keep her safe. Though Phoebe doesn’t like it since this proves Gabriel doesn’t trust her, or something, I don’t know. It made no sense to me. And I realize that in a lot of Quick novels the heroine is sometimes confined to the home in order to keep her safe and said heroine is always irked about it. Yes let’s get irked about your husband trying to keep you from being murdered! Ugh. This book.

Things get tied up in the end, but it doesn’t make much sense to me. The villain of the peace was readily apparent and based on what we know about the guy. I still don’t understand why Gabriel didn’t have him locked up but will just wave my hands at the book and say plot reasons.

I read this for Romance Bingo 2017, and this book fits my free space square!

two-stars

Rendezvous by Amanda Quick

Rendezvous by Amanda QuickRendezvous by Amanda Quick
Published by Bantam on November 1991
Genres: Romance
Pages: 360
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
three-half-stars

From the elegantly appointed drawing rooms of London's most exclusive club to an imposing country estate in the heart of Dorset comes a provocative tale of a free-thinking beauty, a dignified lord, and a mad impetuous love that defied all logic....

Augusta Ballinger was quite sure that is was all a dreadful mistake. The chillingly pompous and dangerously disturbing Earl of Graystone could not possibly wish to marry her. Why, it was rumored that his chosen bride must be a veritable model of virtue. And everyone knew that Augusta, as the last of the wild, reckless Northumberland Ballingers, was a woman who could not be bothered with society's rules....

That was why the spirited beauty had planned a midnight encounter to warn the earl off, to convince him that she would make him a very poor wife indeed. But when she crawled in through his darkened study window, Augusta only succeeded in strengthening Harry's resolve to kiss the laughter from those honeyed lips and teach the maddening miss to behave! How could he possibly know that it was he who was in for a lesson...as his brazen fiancee set out to win his heart -- and an old and clever enemy stepped in to threaten their love, their honor, and their very lives?

Another older Amanda Quick book. I read this for romance bingo and honestly I am glad that I finished up the other Quick book. Her writing style after a while starts to grate. I realize that all of the females in her books are “quirky” and the heroes are long suffering and either want the heroine to fall in love with them or are obtuse to the heroine being in love with them and railing against it while needing to have sex with said heroine all of the time. Did you follow that? I know, it’s confusing.

This book had more plot than “Scandal” did, and there was actually a nice look and see for the hero/heroine at the end of this one (you get a flash forward so to speak a few months after the end of the book, and then again a few months later). That said, the heroine (Augusta Ballinger) was annoying because of her constant need to go on and on about her ancestors. The hero (Harry, the Earl of Graystone) I liked okay, but I started to get twitchy because the guy was going around demanding loyalty from her while going on about how he would need to take her in hand to make her act like she should. I so would have been burned as a witch in Regency era days.

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Augusta Ballinger goes on and on about her family tree of the Ballinger family located in Northumberland. I hope you like reading the phrases “Northumberland Ballinger” and how they are the best, smartest, bravest, daring people ever. It was so stupid. I really wanted to kick Augusta by the time we got to the end of the book. I started to loathe the word Ballinger because Northumberland was lurking around. Augusta is orphaned and alone after the murder of her brother years before this book takes place, so I can see why she wants to make her family the best thing ever. But geez Louise, at least let someone call her out on it. Thank goodness though Harry does at one point.

What gets me most about these type of books though, Augusta in her current style of going about things would have been cut from society long ago. This to me was just one misstep that Quick really had. Augusta starts a lady salon that is based on gentlemen’s clubs. And like those clubs they have betting and play cards, etc. Not that there are anything wrong with those. I just cannot imagine any father or brother being okay with their sister or wives going to a club like this back then without getting in trouble.

Harry though he is bright, also seems to be a bit dense. He comes back home married to his daughter and commands her to start calling Augusta “Mama” and is ticked when she doesn’t comply.  Forget understanding kids, how do you not understand maybe your new wife wouldn’t be feeling awesome about that as well.

Augusta and Harry are not my favorite romance couple ever. There are a lot of back and forths between them. But besides their hot and heavy sex, I was bored by them both. There is a conflict in part of the book that is taken care of by the author in a few short pages, and then it suddenly becomes about Augusta wanting to be close to Harry and be a real family.

There are some fun side characters in this one that I wish we had been able to follow around. I realize now maybe that is why Quick in her Lavinia Lake and Tobias March books started to tell POVs from every character in the book (that got old quick though). I loved the character of Peter, Claudia (Augusta’s cousin and part of a different branch of Ballingers) and Sallie as well.

The initial plot really is that Harry is looking for a virtuous woman to marry since he realizes he needs a mother for his 9 year old daughter Meredith. All of London are gossiping about Harry and who is on his famous list of potential wives since he apparently has criteria for the best wife ever. Augusta Ballinger for no reason at all finds herself attracted to Harry due to him being around more and more to talk to her uncle who is also interested in history as well. Then the plot shifts again a bit to talk about the fact that our hero did something dark and mysterious during the Napoleonic Wars and he still is after a spy that was called the Spider who a lot of deaths are attributed to. That latter plot takes up most of the book and includes Augusta in a rather odd way. It honestly didn’t fit much I think, but Quick tries to tie things together.

The writing gets really repetitive after a while though. And sometimes certain plots or comments made don’t seem followed up on. For example, it is heavily implied that Augusta’s mother was The initial plot really is that Harry is looking for a virtuous woman to marry since he realizes he needs a mother for his 9 year old daughter Meredith. All of London are gossiping about Harry and who is on his famous list of potential wives since he apparently has criteria for the best wife ever. Augusta Ballinger for no reason at all finds herself attracted to Harry due to him being around more and more to talk to her uncle who is also interested in history as well. Then the plot shifts again a bit to talk about the fact that our hero did something dark and mysterious during the Napoleonic Wars and he still is after a spy that was called the Spider who a lot of deaths are attributed to. That latter plot takes up most of the book and includes Augusta in a rather odd way. It honestly didn’t fit much I think, but Quick tries to tie things together. unfaithful, and her father was constantly fighting duels and somehow that was ignored in later chapters for the fact that her mother was devoted/in love with her father and Augusta seems to be in the dark about her mother’s affairs and her father’s duels. Also Augusta’s brother does not have a good reputation prior to his death, but Augusta seems blind to that. I really wish she either acknowledged what a hot mess her family was, or someone just said it to her.

The flow for this one was actually pretty good. The story moves along at a good pace (one of the reasons why I gave this 3.5 stars) but there are some issues here and there. And I did enjoy the aspect of Harry being a widow with a daughter. Meredith was a nice side character to have, and all of her interactions with Augusta were so good. I wanted more of her with Augusta and also with Harry just being a family. She pretty much disappears at the end of the book which sucked, especially because we know a member of Harry’s household is gone for good and I wanted to know who was in charge of Meredith’s education now.

I read this for Romance Book Bingo 2017 and read this for the Historical Romance square. For those looking for a book to fit the key to my heart square, due to the cover for Rendezvous, this book would fit for that as well.

three-half-stars

Participants for Romance Book Bingo 2017!

1.  Obsidian Blue

2. Moonlight Reader

3. Books, hockey and a bucketful of snark

4. Linda Hilton

5. Susana “Lost in Fantasy Land”

6. Tea, Rain, Book

7. Olga Godim

8. Libromancer’s Apprentice

9. Whiskey in the Jar Romance

10. Ani’s Book Abysss

11. Rane Aria

12. Leah’s Bookish Obsessions

13. Portable Magic

14. A Reciprocal Love Affair With Books

15. Rachel’s Books

I will make sure I post this on Goodreads and on our blog at Bookish Pursuits in order to make sure everyone is following either on Booklikes, Goodreads, or WordPress.

Romance Book Bingo 2017: Fairy Tale Retelling square

I have to say that this one is going to be a fun one and I am probably way too excited about reading books for this square. For those who are looking for some books for this square, here are a few for your perusal.

 

There are honestly so many books out there, I honestly don’t know which book I am going to pick. I have already told a few people to just check look out for the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer that gets into Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White retellings. You also can try looking up Elizabeth Hoyt and Loretta Chase.

Romance bingo books for the non-romance reader!

At various times in my reading life, I’ve been a fan of romance. I read Harlequins by the pile when I was still in high school, and then, about five years ago, I became thoroughly addicted to historical romances, and read dozens upon dozens of them over the course of about a year.

Having said that, I understand that there are a lot of people who don’t read romance, but who might still want to play along with the romance bingo game! In furtherance of that goal, I’ve put together a few non-romance reads that will qualify as romance for purposes of the game (i.e., they meet the terms of the category and love is a significant theme). So, without further ado:

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. This is a thoroughly charming book narrated by Cassandra Mortmain, who lives with her eccentric family in a crumbling castle in the middle of nowhere. Their lives are irrevocably changed when two young men show up in the neighborhood, attracting both Rose, Cassandra’s more conventional sister, as well as Cassandra herself.

This one would qualify for “New Adult,” “Historical Romance,” or “Guy/Girl Next Door” categories.

Katherine by Anya Seton. First published in 1954, this is a piece of historical romantic fiction that tells the story of the love affair between Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt. Epic in scope, their relationship spanned decades. If you are a fan of stories set in the high middle ages, this will be right up your alley.

This one would fit nicely into the “Historical Romance” category, along with “Blown Away,” “Second Chances,” (Katherine is married when she meets John of Gaunt) and “Wedding Bells”.

The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye. This is a classic sweeping epic first published in 1978, and was one my favorite books growing up. Set in India during the Raj, it chronicles the forbidden love between Ash Pelham-Martyn, a young British boy brought up as a Hindu (this character is modeled on Kim, from the Rudyard Kipling book of the same name) and Anjuli, Indian princess. It is long, but is a heart stopping, heart pounding adventure.

This one would fit nicely into “Historical Romance,” and, possibly, “Interracial couple,” since the two lovers are forbidden from being together because of their cultural/racial differences.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Obviously, this is one of the most beloved romances of all time, so it fits right in with romance bingo. Lizzie and Darcy are two of the finest couples that any author ever put to paper, and this is one of my favorite books of all time.

I would strongly argue for placing this book in the “New Adult” category, as Lizzie is 20 and Darcy is 28. In addition to “New Adult,” it fits into “Wedding Bells” and “Second Chances” (Bingley gets a second chance with Jane), as well as “Blown Away,” since Darcy is bowled over by Lizzie and her fine eyes.

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier. This is a lovely retelling of the Six Swans fairy tale, set in Celtic Britain of a distant, mythological past. Sorcha is a remarkable heroine, and her love interest is suitably swoony, if somewhat taciturn, hero.

This book can fill the “Fairy Tale Retelling” and “Young Adult” squares.

This is a few books that are not traditional “romance novels” than can fill some of the squares on the romance bingo card!

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