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text 2019-03-22 18:56
Reading Update: 50%
Duke of Scandal - Adele Ashworth

He'd flattered her as he'd flustered her, and somewhere in the dark recesses of her mind it occurred to her that not only had he done so intentionally, he'd done so with perfect honesty. She realized at that moment that she'd never been courted by any man who'd made her feel like the Duke of Durham did with a simple look, a word or two.

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review 2019-03-14 10:02
Stealing the Duke (The Scandal Sheet #2) by Jess Michaels
Stealing the Duke (The Scandal Sheet #2) - Jess Michaels



Who doesn't love a good mystery? Jess Michaels turns love into an intriguing adventure with tons of suspense and a steamy backdrop to light the way to a happy ending. Stealing the Duke is the best of what romance has to offer. There's a twist around ever corner and enough heart to spare.

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review 2019-02-18 01:40
Callander Square (book) by Anne Perry
Callander Square - Anne Perry

Thomas Pitt, a policeman, has been married to his well-born wife, Charlotte, for a relatively short amount of time. Charlotte is pregnant and quite happy with her marriage - she doesn't mind that she and Thomas don't have much money, or that she has to do housework. But that doesn't keep her from meddling in Thomas's work a bit.

Thomas's latest case involves the discovery of two dead infants buried in a wealthy neighborhood. There's no way to tell whether they were stillborn or murdered, although the one that's been dead the longest shows signs of deformities. It's a delicate case: the mother (or mothers?) likely worked or is still working for one of the nearby families. As Thomas questions the various servants, Charlotte and her sister Emily become involved as well.

I haven't read the first book in this series, but it didn't seem to interfere with my enjoyment much. I picked this up during a recent used book shopping trip, due to a recommendation in a comment on a Smart Bitches, Trashy Books post asking for historical romance recommendations involving working class couples. Unfortunately, the first book wasn't available, or I'd have started with that one.

The blog comment indicated that the books were mysteries with romantic elements, which I can sort of see but which set up expectations that Callander Square, at least, didn't fulfill. For example, while Thomas and Charlotte clearly loved each other, they didn't actually spend much on-page time together. I went into this book expecting Charlotte to give Thomas information more regularly than she did. I can't recall if she ever even admitted to Thomas that the "friend" she'd begun helping was actually General Balantyne, who might have had some connection, direct or indirect, to the dead babies. The number of sections from Emily's POV also surprised me.

Also, I didn't remember until after I started reading this that Anne Perry is the mystery author who, when she was 15, participated in the murder of her friend's mother. I'd always previously avoided her books because of that - reading murder mysteries written by someone who has actually committed one seemed...icky. On the plus side, at least there were no explicit on-page murders or "killer POV" scenes.

Anyway, back to the book itself. I really liked the beginning but started to become impatient as I got further in and there seemed to be no progress in the case. True, there were potential scandals galore (exciting!), but if it hadn't been for one particular murder, I doubt the mystery of the buried babies would have ever been solved. One very important detail didn't even come up until the last ten pages or so.

I really wish the book had included a character list/guide, or possibly a set of family trees, because keeping all the names straight was difficult. For a while there, I had a theory about the murderer's identity that involved one character's father, but I couldn't for the life of me remember if his name had ever been mentioned. It didn't help that some of the characters had relatively similar names and/or didn't get mentioned much. I kept on mixing up Carlton and Campbell, for example. And even if I remembered who the characters were and why they were important, I couldn't always remember who their spouses and children were.

Still, I enjoyed all of the various intertwined scandals and was surprised (in a good way?) that things actually worked out fairly well for several of the families, considering. The original mystery, the issue of what happened to the two dead babies, didn't grab me as much, maybe because it tended to be overshadowed by everything else.

One of my favorite things about this book was the way it handled its various female characters. Perry included a whole range of female characters, from annoying and silly to ruthlessly pragmatic. I liked some without reservation, disliked others, and found myself grudgingly respecting a few that I initially thought I'd 100% hate. The one thing nearly all of them had in common was that the men around them underestimated their perceptiveness and the depth of private lives and feelings. Even Thomas occasionally made this mistake, although he was good about listening to and learning from Charlotte, and was never so badly shaken by what he learned as some of the other men.

This was a bit slow for my tastes and didn't have Charlotte and Thomas on-page together as much as I'd expected, but I did enjoy it and plan on reading the next book at some point. I might also go back and read the first one, just to see what I missed.


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2019-01-20 22:33
Strong Ending to the Brothers Sinister Series
The Suffragette Scandal - Courtney Milan

I have to say that this re-read was really enjoyable. I really did like reading about Free and Edward again.


I honestly don't have much to add from my original review except to say that the book starring Violet pales in comparison to this one.


Original review below:


The character of Free was introduced to readers in her brother's book (The Heiress Effect #2) and I was instantly enamored with her. When she tells her brother Oliver that the world had better look out for her I was won over. To have a woman in the time and place fight for the right to be taught, to be allowed to vote, was wonderful. Free is a champion of women's rights and England in this time and place was still very much a male society. Running her own newspaper that reports on things that many in society would rather have ignored has Free on the top of many people's hit list.


The character of Edward has his own demons to deal with. Left to die in a war torn country by his father and brother. Edward only returns to England to help out a life long friend's brother. Coming across Free we can see why Edward is attracted to her. When Edward is enlisted to ruin Free, he decides to see what he can do in order to stop the conspiracy to ruin her.


I thought the romance in this book was very well done. I believed in the attraction between Free and Edward. And I 100 percent got some residual heat from them both when reading about their times together. What I liked the most is that we get a slow burn romance story here. Edward finds out more about what Free does, the suffrage movement, and you can see him becoming a believer in Free.


What really swung this up to four stars with me though is that a secondary character that is introduced to us in The Heiress Effect (Brothers Sinister #2) makes a reappearance
in this one, and we get to read about their romance as well. I don't want to spoil for other readers, but I was surprised by it and happy with the way that Milan told that story as well. I would have killed for a novella of these two characters.


We do get brief appearances from other characters from the series, but not enough for me. I really would have loved to see a bigger scene than the one that we got.


As usual, the writing was great and the flow was so improved in this book. I really loved the interactions between Free and Edward. Edward's interactions with others was wonderful too. I definitely got alpha vibes from Edward, but he for the most part pulled it in until it came time to do something in order to protect Free. What I did like was that the central problem between Free and Edward was well done and I liked that they discussed it like rational adults. I wish that the reveal had come sooner though.


I really did like the ending and as I already said, I wish that we had got a larger bigger scene with all of the characters who have appeared in this series to wrap it up.

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text 2019-01-17 22:11
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Suffragette Scandal - Courtney Milan

Had a great time re-reading this. Free and Edward are fantastic. I do have to say I call BS on why he didn't tell Free the truth. I think he should have squirmed more and had to own that a big longer.

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