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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-06-10 10:23
Courting Carrie in Wonderland
Courting Carrie in Wonderland - Carla Kelly

My reviews are honest & they contain spoilers. For more, follow me:


I bought Courting Carrie in Wonderland last year, not sure why I didn’t read it right away. Carla Kelly’s books are auto-buy for me, and when I saw the cover, I wanted to read this one. Yet somehow I never got around to. So to amend that, I picked it up last week without reading any reviews, as I do for many of Ms. Kelly’s books. Have to wonder again, why I didn’t read it last year cause the story was simply amazing, heart-touchingly so!

TBH, I had no idea what ‘Wonderland’ in Courting Carrie in Wonderland stood for. I thought it was one of those titles with a touch of fancy, maybe the H and h went somewhere they liked calling wonderland? Seems like I was almost correct in that regard. This book is set in the Yellowstone National Park, a place I’ve never heard of (I don’t live in the US), which was known to be the Wonderland. Even while reading I didn’t check out anything in google. I just read on, seemingly trying to figure out the place through our H and h, Ramsay and Carrie’s eyes and Ms. Kelly’s narratives. I’ll be honest that I struggled to picture the Park and it’s specific attractions that were mentioned as they’re known: such as the Old Faithful, the Chittenden Bridge (previously the Melan Arch Bridge), the viaduct that linked the edge of the mountains creating a perilous road and many other descriptions of the scenery, the flora and the fauna. Even then I could tell it was a marvelous place. After I finished I couldn’t wait to find out how those noted areas looked like, and was blown away by the beauty of the Park. I could imagine why Ramsay and Carrie (or anyone for that matter) would love the place and want to stay there. Like, I had this urge to visit Yellowstone ASAP, though that dream may never materialize for me. :(

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review 2018-02-27 12:36
mixed stories
Regency Christmas Wishes - Carla Kelly,Christine Merrill,Janice Preston

Well as snow falls in Ireland Christmas stories are somewhat apt.

 

The first story is one of a Naval Captain who remembers a woman who nursed him when he fell ill. 10 years later he gets the letter he was waiting for, much of it water damaged, but the gist of the letter is that she says yes.  So he goes to find her and finds that things are more complicated than they seem.  There's a fair bit of miraclous happenings and literal deus ex going on in this but it's not a bad story overall

 

Her Christmas Temptation by Christine Merrill is an entertaining story of a rake who goes to break an engagement for his beloved cousin and finds that maybe his motives aren't so clear.  I really enjoyed this one.

 

Awakening his Sleeping Beauty by Janice Preston the Sleeping Beauty metaphor is stretched a little here but the story is good, an opressed heroine finding love and respect is always good.

 

Overall not bad and quite seasonally based, the last two are set during the 12 days of Christmas.

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review 2017-11-29 03:48
Full of tongue-in-cheek wit
Beau Crusoe - Carla Kelly

She smiled, and James felt his heart turn.

 

Lt. James Trevenen spent 5yrs marooned on an island.

Susannah Park married below her station, had her husband die before she even gave birth, and has been ostracized ever since.

 

Maybe because I recently read one of her books, this felt like a Balogh with some Milan. Y'all, the tongue-in-cheek humor and wit is top notch here. This is also told mostly from the hero's pov, which helped to give it a fresh spin.

 

"Maybe it's this way, son---when we have no choice, we may as well be brave."

 

James has PTSD from what he had to do to survive and thinks he is haunted by another survivor of the original shipwreck. James' story of survival is spread out throughout the story until we get the ultimate grizzly details of how he became the lone survivor. It's rough, disturbing, and courageous stuff to read and I enjoyed how the author didn't shy away from James' emotions.  He was a hero who was witty, courageous, strong, utterly capable, and kind; he's a sexy one.

 

Susannah plays a little bit of second fiddle to James but her calm, vulnerable, and solid demeanor made her a perfect complement to him. Her family dynamics were a secondary character that wonderfully filled this story with even more emotions and relationship nuances. I'm also not the biggest fan of children in stories but Susannah's son Noah was a fun character and their relationship and the one that develops between Noah and James was delightful.

 

The romance between James and Susannah started off as smoke that slowly but surely was tended into a sparking burning pleasing fire. They were such a lovely engaging couple to follow along with. The wit provides a lighter tone while James feeling haunted and Susannah coming back from scandal with society and her family (Susannah and her sister's relationship brought a tear to my eye at the end) provide the heavier emotional load. The secondary characters here add a lot and show how much a story can be enhanced when giving attention to the details. This was a refreshing, engaging, and just plain lovely story.

 

As she stood watching, he turned and blew her a kiss. You're a rascal, she thought.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-10-15 03:14
Miss Whitter Makes A List
Miss Whittier Makes a List - Carla Kelly

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

The latest Carla Kelly that I read, Miss Whittier Makes A List, was one of those I was finishing up from her “Miss” series. Well, there’s no series titled like that but she’s got quite a few older Regency romances having titles with a “Miss this or that does this or that” (if this even makes any sense to anyone ;P). *facepalm* Sooo, I liked how it was, the storyline, the characters too. However, not as mind-blowing as I had hoped it would be after reading the first few chapters. As a result, it took me a while to finish it because I wasn’t sure what to write in my review or how to structure it; my feelings were that ambivalent. I don’t want anyone to dislike the story, but there are things that need to be mentioned.

Miss Whittier Makes A List isn’t a badly written novel. Not at all! I mean I keep saying this, and it’s true. I love Ms. Kelly’s writing and I loved most of her backlist thus far. This one begins with a h with a little different background. Hannah is a Quaker, a background not often explored in the arena of HR that I generally read. But even though she’s meant to be lived under strict rules of the ‘type’ of Christianity they followed, Hannah was anything but meek and biddable. Oh she gives that impression quite well, but inside Hannah something... different. Something preferably more exciting. Things that she won’t even acknowledge to herself, let alone to anyone else among her Quaker Friends. I mean, they don’t even call each-other anything but ‘thee’ and ‘thy’. :/

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-08-10 00:55
Safe Passage
Safe Passage - Carla Kelly

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

A full review of Carla Kelly’s Safe Passage would be kinda difficult to do for me, not because it’s a badly written book (I finished it in 2 days, a record for me TBH!) but because the historical facts integrated in this story. It’s very difficult to comment on war or revolution or whatever and the loss of the absurd amount of human lives in the process, to justify the horrifying affects it has on humanity. I’ll do neither in my review.

Carla Kelly has done amazing books where she included tales of war and its aftermath. But she’s always careful to be as subtle as possible while incorporating it with the storyline. Safe Passage is no different, yet there were moments where I felt like putting down the book and take a deep breath. This has a little different setting and background—Mexican Revolution of 1910 (setting here is 1912). The prologue introduces our h, Addie, who has been reminiscing about her past, and her marriage, which seems to be a done thing at this point. Addie lives in Mexico and was married to Ammon for 2 yrs. One sad incident, which led Addie to say some horrible things, had led to their break up. Ammon returned home from his freighting business where injured himself, only to find his wife enraged. He already had a broken leg to deal with, a broken heart now added to the mix. Addie, though, had a reason behind it, and I could try to understand her mental state, still the whole incident was really heartbreaking. Ammon left, heartbroken and in tears, not knowing what he’d done wrong. He had tried to communicate with Addie the first year but she was determined to keep her silence. I have no idea why she treated him so badly, but in the year since then she’d come to regret her action. So much so that she often thinks of Ammon but she doesn’t know how she can do anything to change their circumstances.

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