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review 2018-03-21 21:24
#Audiobook Review: Axel by Grace Burrowes
Axel - Grace Burrowes

Axel opens with Axel recently returning home from the holidays at his brother’s home (Matthew, previous book). He is called to his closest neighbor’s home in the middle of the night because Mrs. Stoneleigh found her elderly husband shot dead in his study. Presuming it was suicide, she’s a bit shocked when Axel, the neighbor and Magistrate, tells her it was murder. 

 

To keep her safe from potential threats, Axel invites Abby to stay at his home while he solves her late husband’s murder. Soon the pair strike up a genuine friendship and uncover several crimes committed by the late Stoneleigh himself. With propriety saying they should stay apart, can Abby and Axel accept their love and move forward?

 

Axel is the third book in the Jaded Gentleman series, but the fourth I’ve read. I don’t know if the formula of the books (unconventional woman, jaded gentleman) started to wear on me or if it was just this story, but I didn’t find Axel to be as engaging as the other three books. I did enjoy that the mystery opens this one. And what a mystery it is - murder! It lended a bit of urgency to the storyline. However, things really slowed down shortly after the start. While normally I enjoy the slower pace of the series, I got a bit frustrated with this one. At only a third of the way into the story, I was able to see the foul play afoot, and I just want the story to move forward. Unfortunately, Axel has a way of giving extra insight and taking a meandering path to make his points. Additionally, the climax of the mystery was overly complicated and unnecessarily drawn-out.

 

Mr. Langton’s performance was once again perfect in tempo and cadence for the story at hand. However, I noticed a distinct change in the voices of both Matthew and Sir Nick, and although those characters are found only in supporting roles, I was annoyed every time their parts came up in the story.  

 

Overall, Axel is a good story, albeit a bit long and drawn-out. After listening to four books, the series has run its course for now. (I started with book 4 of 4). Although each had a unique story, the formula was very much the same. The long, drawn out pace of this one got to me at times. But I genuinely enjoyed both Axel and Abby. I loved their dialogue and joint discovery of love and pleasure. The mystery of who killed her husband and why was a little too convoluted and led to some of my bother.

 

My Rating: B/B-

Narration: B/B-

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review 2018-03-21 21:07
#Audiobook Review: Matthew by Grace Burrowes
Matthew: Jaded Gentlemen Series, Book 2 - Tantor Audio,Grace Burrowes,James Langton

Picking up shortly after the conclusion of Thomas, Matthew opens with Thomas’s sister Theresa and her daughter Pricilla taking care of his estate while Thomas is away on his honeymoon travels. Running into difficulties with a mare, Theresa calls on Thomas’s neighbor, Matthew. Both Theresa and Matthew are lonely soles (she spending 8 years in self-inflicted exile, he the widower magistrate with bothersome in laws), and the pair strike an early friendship.

 

Following the mold of the preceding book, Matthew tells the tale of an unconventional woman who defies the times and a jaded gentleman who discovers a new joy in life with the help of the right woman. I like Theresa a lot. I like that despite the hardship of her past and the unkindness of her brother, her only living relative, she remains kind-hearted and gentle. Matthew is a true gentleman who recognizes the wrongs places upon Theresa, and defends her every action to both her brother and to Theresa. Through his love, she learns to accept her own faults and appreciate the person she’s become. 

 

The only real negative I had was with Priscilla, who is mostly lovely and an excellent supporting character. However, the author shares a few sections from her point of view, and she is entirely too astute for to be an eight-year-old. Although her observations are spot on, I just didn’t like that they came from an eight-year-old.

 

Once again, Mr. Langton provides the narration for the tale. His voices, expressions, and characterizations have become familiar and enjoyable. His cadence is well-suited for the slower-paced and historically-set romance. 

 

Even though Matthew is the second book in the Jaded Gentlemen series, it’s the third title I’ve listened to, and I continue to enjoy the titles. The book was delightful and lovely. I like that Theresa and Matthew find love early on, and it’s solving the mystery that delays the HEA.

 

My Rating: B+

Narration: B+

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review 2018-03-09 15:02
A Rogue of Her Own (Windham Brides) - Grace Burrowes

 Charlotte Windham is a fierce protector of women who have found themselves in a delicate situation. She has no interest in getting married and she is the very last Windham cousin not married. However, she does need to be ruined so the men stop proposing and cornering her at various social functions. She wants to be left alone to pursue her goals of continuing her work. Lucas is the wealthy commoner who is the neighbor to the Duke of Haverford (Elizabeth Windham’s book, No Other Duke Will Do).  In that book, we met Lucas and for a good portion of the book he came across as the villain when in truth he wasn’t. He is a successful businessman who has a colliery in the process of being built. He is in town to find a business partner when he rescues Charlotte from an aggressive suitor. It doesn’t take them long before he proposes marriage, though both of them only see it as a business transaction. She is attracted to him but is worried he will try and stop her work, so initially she refuses him, but is later caught kissing him by none other than the Duke and Duchess of Windham, the scheming and matchmaking masterminds of the Windham family. Lucas and Charlotte find themselves married and on the way to Wales shortly after that. They don’t know each other and don’t know how to start. Their marriage reminded me of what marriages were actually like back then, which is sad, though theirs had a happily ever after. They grow close very slowly, but when it comes out that Lucas’ business partner is the same man who ruined Charlotte's best friend a rift arises. It seems hopeless for a few weeks but Charlotte has come to realize she really loves her husband and misses him, and he comes to realize how he wants his marriage to be and they both come to a very tentative understanding. He sets off to seek justice for Charlotte’s dead friend and the son she left behind, and in doing so, discovers he has friends in high places and not all aristocracy is evil and spoiled. I loved Charlotte’s confrontation at the end with her friend’s lover and I love that Lucas overheard it all. Priceless. Perfect. Romantic. And sweet.

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review 2018-03-01 23:21
A Rogue of Her Own by Grace Burrowes
A Rogue of Her Own (Windham Brides) - Grace Burrowes

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Charlotte Windham is tough and brash but she still is turning down offers of aristocrats looking to get in good with the Windham clan. With new debutantes wanting her out of the way, Charlotte decides it is time to do just that and decides a little ruination could go a long way to freeing her. 
Lucas Sherbourne has had a lifetime of dealing with the arrogant aristocracy but he still can't help but be drawn to Charlotte. 
A little scandal, a rushed trip to the altar, and rainy days in Wales soon becomes the best recipe for a marriage. 
 
“I like you,” she said. “Somewhat. A little. I don’t dislike you.” 
 
The fourth and last book in the Windham brides series, focuses on Charlotte with her sister and husband (heroine and hero of book three) playing big roles too. Lucas and Charlotte do appear in book three, you'd get the understanding why Lucas and Charlotte's brother-in-law have some animosity, but if focusing solely on Charlotte and Lucas' relationship, you could comfortably dive in here. 
 
Lucas is a commoner but a fairly rich one, so he went to schools with titled boys who punished him various ways for being "lesser" than them and he never really had a sense of family or friends. I thought the author did a wonderful job showcasing how Lucas' personality was formed because of how he grew up and why he strives for achievement, is very self-contained, and wanting to do best by his home and the surrounding people. Charlotte, on the other hand, grew up in a very large family but also got a little bit lost in it, especially as everyone gets married. At first glance, these two may seem opposites attract but their desires, fears, and wants are very similar once you see below their surfaces. Burrowes is a master at nuances and subtleties, whether it's emotion or humor. 
 
This is very much a story of marriage, how jobs, money, relationships, and two individual personalities come together and love. The tone is mild and you'd want to look elsewhere for drama or escapades but a stripped to its bones of marriage and love journey are found in the pages. Burrowes' artful use of secondary characters can also be found with previously introduced characters and even a simple relationship between the hero and his valet, enrich the depth of the hero and heroine. The villain of the piece provides a bit of a crescendo moment throughout the story, but makes our heroine seem a bit too stubborn for angst sake. 
 
“You torrid very well, Mr. Sherbourne. May I prevail on you to ruin me?” 
 
If looking for a mellower read with a thoroughly delved into look at marriage and relationships or just wanting to visit the Windhams again, Burrowes provides an endearing story.

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text 2018-03-01 05:46
Reading Update: 60%
A Rogue of Her Own (Windham Brides) - Grace Burrowes

“You are naughty.”

Fatigue made his features sharper, and his smile more piratical. “Not naughty, married. Come be married with me, Charlotte Sherbourne.”

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