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review 2017-11-20 20:58
Good quick regency
Talk of the Ton - Eloisa James,Jacqueline Navin,Julia London,Rebecca Hagan Lee

I think Random Number generator thinks it is Friends' Recommendation month because it picked another one! Thanks to Nia for the enjoyable recommendation :)

This collection of short regency stories seemed to be connected by having a little bit steamier tone and jealous women. With no stories rated below 3 stars, I quite enjoyed this anthology. 


A Proper Gentleman by Eloisa James 
3.5 stars

It was good for a man to know straight off that there were times when he might---be obeyed, and there were others when he should understand his place. 

My favorite of the collection and the hottest (funny how that worked out, huh ;). A long standing betrothal, hero who gains a reputation for liking French women a bit too much (really spent a couple months in Paris drowning his sorrows because his brother died), fervent gossip, and a forgotten fiancée who decides to take charge. 

The heroine decides to go to a masque ball and pretend to be French and entice the hero. The reasoning involving a Shakespeare quote the hero supposedly said mixed with some gossip is all a bit forced but I'll let it go because the heroine taking the reins was fun. There's some hot flirting, sexual tension, and disrobing. The hero and heroine both give as good as they get and I was there for it. 

The Vicar's Widow by Julia London 
3 stars

"Nefarious?" She laughed. "Lord Montgomery, how you tease me! I'd wager you've not a wicked bone in you body!"
He gave her a look that suggested she knew better than that, leaned slightly toward her, and said low, "You'd be quite wrong, madam, were you to wager. I've more than one wicked bone in this body."
 


Probably my least favorite with us getting a decent amount of pov from the villain of the piece; a jealous girl who spreads reputation hurting gossip. Heroine and hero have a forbidden kiss but then heroine's vicar husband dies a year later and hero hasn't forgotten her. 

Hero was a bit drab with his overly calm ignoring, not caring about the gossip circulating about him having serious intentions about the jealous girl and how heroine's reputation was getting dragged through the mud as jealous girl started rumors. 

Hero and heroine were sweet together but too much town gossip focus for such a short story. 

Clearly a Couple (Free Fellows League #4.5) by Rebecca Hagan Lee
3 stars

"You belong to yourself now, Lady India, you're not obliged to service any man in order to survive." 

The most intriguing with our heroine being captured by pirates and forced to live in a harem for five years (we only get told, not shown this). Hints of steamy naughtiness because heroine knows every which way Sunday to pleasure a man and has a jewel in her belly button that hero can't look away from. Hero somewhat stumbles upon her and must escort her to London but the majority of story is their one night in cabin.

I was completely interested in this one but it was hurt by the short restrictions and our hero and heroine fall in love within a night and are married within a head spinning time. The hero seemed calm, cool, and sexy and our heroine would have given him a great run for his money (she sort of does anyway) if given a full length novel. 

Miss Jenny Alt's First Kiss by Jacqueline Navin
3.5 stars

"Why, I get the distinct impression that you do not approve of me." 

Back to the jealously, our heroine is the poor relation cousin who has spent her life making sure her cousin shines, making cousin turn out to be a spoiled little bi…umm, miss. Recluse earl cousin comes to stay in London to find a wife, jealous girl wants him but he is intrigued by shy cousin. 

Look, I eat shy miss, only guy to see the hidden gem trope up with a spoon. I liked hero and heroine back and forth with their challenging each other's comfort zones and their blossoming sexual tension. Hater girl hates but gets a little comeuppance in end and our bluestocking gets her happily ever after. 


Satisfying quick regency stories if in a time crunch or looking for a quick fix. 

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text 2017-11-20 20:53
DNF at 30%
It Had to Be You - Delynn Royer

Such promise this book had. Such a tedious amount of work just to get to the 30% mark and I have already started and finished several books since starting this book. Calling it quits now.

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review 2017-11-20 20:05
A fun and light read recommended to lovers of fairy tales and Scottish-themed adventures
Enchanted by the Highlander (A Highland Fairytale) - Lecia Cornwall

Thanks to NetGalley and to St. Martin’s Press/Swerve, for providing me with an ARC copy of this novel that I freely chose to review.

I love fairy tales. Although probably Beauty and the Beast is my favourite, I have a soft spot for most classics. I also love the Scottish Highlands (I’ve visited two or three times but I hope I will visit again in the future). When I saw this book, which combined a retelling of Cinderella with a setting in the Highlands, I could not resist (I also liked the cover).

This is book 4 in A Highland Fairytale series, but it can be read as a standalone (I haven’t read any of the other books in the series). The story is told in the third person from different characters points of view, but there is no head-hopping and the changes in perspective are clearly marked. The novel is set in the XVII century and tells the story of is Gillian, a young girl daughter of Donal, the laird of the MacLeod’s clan, quiet and shy, whose father and sisters think will never get married (although she is very pretty but too quiet to make herself noticed). Quiet waters and all that, because Gillian has dreams and wants to marry for love. While visiting one of the sisters, she meets an Englishman who is Captain of her brother-in-law’s men, John Erly, and although he has no fortune to his name and a terrible reputation, she discovers there is more to him than people think and falls in love with him. At a masquerade ball, they kiss (he is not wearing much of a disguise but he does not know who she is) and she loses her mask. Despite the effect she has on him, nothing happens and she goes back home. A few months later she is engaged to get married to an old nobleman (older than her father) as her family is convinced she wants a quiet life and an old husband is just the ticket for her. Somehow, John ends up escorting her to Edinburgh with a full complement of Highlanders… And the rest, well, you’ll need to read the book to know.

I don’t want to rehash the plot or reveal any spoilers. As this is a romance and a fairy tale, you can imagine how things end up from the beginning, but the beauty is in the details. Gilliam is far from the wilting violet everybody mistakes her for, and John isn’t the rogue others think either. They go through many adventures, including being assaulted by outlaws, a wedding that is ruined, numerous suitors, fights and perils, a competition to obtain Gillian’s hand in marriage, secrets, confessions, and plenty of Highland traditions, expressions, songs, whisky, and a fair amount of fun (and romance). Of course, it is a fairy tale, so it does require a deal of suspension of disbelief, but both main characters are likeable, and most of the secondary characters are great too (even if we don’t get to know them as well, they provide light relief and liven up the action).

The retelling of Cinderella is limited to the mask and the ball, as the circumstances of the character are quite different (she is beloved by her family even if they don’t understand her true feelings) and what happens later bears no resemblance to the story, but is an enjoyable romp. There is plenty of action and humour, there is violence, there are also scary moments, and a couple of erotic scenes (they are quite mild but I would have enjoyed the book more without them as I’m not a big fan. Especially the first one felt particularly unrealistic, and I know I’m talking about a sex scene in a fairy tale, but for me, it did stretch credibility more than the rest of the book). The writing is in keeping with the story, easy and fairly dynamic, at times reminding me of the serials of old, like the Perils of Pauline, where there is a never-ending amount of trouble waiting for the heroine (who luckily is pretty resourceful).

A fun and light read recommended to lovers of fairy tales and Scottish-themed stories, who enjoy adventures galore and don’t mind some violence and a bit of sex.

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review 2017-11-20 19:17
The Substitute Bridegroom - Jeanne Abbott

Cute. Complicated, but cute. I mean; it reads pretty straight forward but the behind the scenes stuff is a complicated mess.

So ok, our h, 2 months out from her 21st birthday whereupon she would take the reins for half her family spice company, is being pressured to marry by her uncle. She doesn't want to marry the lout. Uncle somehow manages to get a box at the theater, and after a time, she develops a headache. Lout offers to take her home and for whatever reason, she doesn't refuse. Lout actually took her somewhere with every intention of forcing himself on her. Stranger rescues her, and returns her to her home, thinking she's an actress. Uncle seizes opportunity and presses the issue with marriage. Her cousin, not the brightest candle in the room, decides to help her by putting an advertisement in one of the papers. She succeeds, arrangements are made, and...

Our H, rake apparently, who seems determined to blow through his finances for some ungodly reason, is being pressured by the family matriarch to marry. Since she is in possession of all the family funds, her threat to write him out of her will if he doesn't isn't one to be ignored. While dealing with this news, he stumbles across a woman being accosted, beats her attacker, and takes her home, under the assumption she's an actress (cough). After a number of refusals from various eligible women or their families, he's bummed. His best buddy stumbles across the advertisement, and arrangements are made...

They don't figure out who each other is until after vows are exchanged. He takes her to the family pile where an old friend of hers works. Shortly after their arrival, several attempts are made against him. He assumes it's the friend as the friend really really likes her...or that was his impression at least. Then again, at times the h is very naive.

Then their carriage is attacked by highwaymen who a) attempt to kill him (unsuccessfully), and kidnap her (successfully). Naturally, it turns out to be her uncle and the erstwhile intended. Of course, through a comedy of errors... the cousin goes to the maid, who hides her in their quarters and gets the coachman to go to the H's townhouse where, possibly due to the maid being drunk, and the cousin being hysterical, he is under the impression the h IS and wishes her to come with him to reassure her cousin. The H goes off to rescue the h, and is successful. The uncle falls down the stairs in the confrontation, it's revealed that the would-be intended was actually the result of the uncle raping some woman, that the uncle had caused the accident that killed the h's parents, and likely had killed someone else involved in a dual by shooting them in the back. Oh, and his wife was more than happy to have his death declared an accident because she hated him.

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review 2017-11-20 19:15
The Substitute Bridegroom
The Substitute Bridegroom - Jeanne Abbott

Cute. Complicated, but cute. I mean; it reads pretty straight forward but the behind the scenes stuff is a complicated mess.

So ok, our h, 2 months out from her 21st birthday whereupon she would take the reins for half her family spice company, is being pressured to marry by her uncle. She doesn't want to marry the lout. Uncle somehow manages to get a box at the theater, and after a time, she develops a headache. Lout offers to take her home and for whatever reason, she doesn't refuse. Lout actually took her somewhere with every intention of forcing himself on her. Stranger rescues her, and returns her to her home, thinking she's an actress. Uncle seizes opportunity and presses the issue with marriage. Her cousin, not the brightest candle in the room, decides to help her by putting an advertisement in one of the papers. She succeeds, arrangements are made, and...

Our H, rake apparently, who seems determined to blow through his finances for some ungodly reason, is being pressured by the family matriarch to marry. Since she is in possession of all the family funds, her threat to write him out of her will if he doesn't isn't one to be ignored. While dealing with this news, he stumbles across a woman being accosted, beats her attacker, and takes her home, under the assumption she's an actress (cough). After a number of refusals from various eligible women or their families, he's bummed. His best buddy stumbles across the advertisement, and arrangements are made...

They don't figure out who each other is until after vows are exchanged. He takes her to the family pile where an old friend of hers works. Shortly after their arrival, several attempts are made against him. He assumes it's the friend as the friend really really likes her...or that was his impression at least. Then again, at times the h is very naive.

Then their carriage is attacked by highwaymen who a) attempt to kill him (unsuccessfully), and kidnap her (successfully). Naturally, it turns out to be her uncle and the erstwhile intended. Of course, through a comedy of errors... the cousin goes to the maid, who hides her in their quarters and gets the coachman to go to the H's townhouse where, possibly due to the maid being drunk, and the cousin being hysterical, he is under the impression the h IS and wishes her to come with him to reassure her cousin. The H goes off to rescue the h, and is successful. The uncle falls down the stairs in the confrontation, it's revealed that the would-be intended was actually the result of the uncle raping some woman, that the uncle had caused the accident that killed the h's parents, and likely had killed someone else involved in a dual by shooting them in the back. Oh, and his wife was more than happy to have his death declared an accident because she hated him.

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