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review 2018-01-16 22:59
Someone to Wed (A Westcott Novel) - Mary Balogh


An engaging story lovely written. I've come to love most of the author's books because of the care that it's placed on everything. The setting, the characters, the atmosphere, they're all perfectly done.
Also the fact that they mostly have a story besides _eventually _ disrobing... helps.
This story has all the things that I like:
_No insta love;
_No insta attraction;
_No pointless drama;

Instead there's friendship and companionship from the part of a big crazy family.
From my experience, I found that a little far fetched, lol, everyone getting along brilliantly; but it was nice to read...okay, a little less sweetness would have been preferred, :D but that's just me being emotionally stunted.

I loved the way the romance developed... calmly (most of the time). Alexander never once behaved like a neanderthal towards Wren, and that was vastly appreciated.
I am done with brutes and alpha jerks.

For me the only thing that kept this from being a perfect read was the last pages. I think that cutting a few pages and taking it easy on the sweetness might have helped.
But I really liked it and I do see myself re-reading it! ;)

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review 2018-01-16 04:47
Trope soup, and not in an entertaining way.
Someone To Love (A Westcott Novel) - Mary Balogh

I finally hit my DNF point about 60% through when I realised that I was never going to reconcile myself to the fact that the hero, an English duke raised in England, was secretly a king fu master. My level of BUT WHY!? was too high for anything but the most riveting of adventures to keep me going, and nothing else in this book was that. (But why is: when he was studying at... Harrow or somewhere... he met a Chinese martial arts master by chance and he taught him the secrets of kung fu. The book answered none of the questions I had about that, most of which revolved around why it was a plot point at all).


The rest of the hero's (non kung fu related) persona revolved around being very rich, very fashionable and very bored. I feel like the author maybe watched the  Anthony Andrews version of The Scarlet Pimpernel one too many times (not that there's anything wrong with that!)


Meanwhile the heroine was raised in one of those Quaker Anarchist orphanages that don't teach you about the class system, so she hits finding out that she's the legitimate daughter of an Earl with zero knowledge of anything, and proceeds to insist on being simple and true to herself and as good as anyone and hiring all her friends as maids. ("A Quaker Anarchist is guided through London society by a Kung Fu master," quoth a friend, "that sounds pretty good, actually." YOU WOULD THINK SO! Alas, the author doesn't lean into it.)


One would think that the 1810s would be a perfect time to declare war on ruffles, given the neoclassical turn in women's fashion around then, but the author disagrees, and claims that All The Other Girls dressed in an overly fussy manner (I was pretty confused about the period generally. Queen Charlotte is on the throne, and they're at war in France, but it's all ruffled dresses and dancing the waltz. WHEN IS THIS SET!?).


I may be obsessing over details? It may be because I don't care about the plot? Since there's literally no conflict and next to no romantic tension between the main characters? This underlined by all scenes being told and retold two or three times. In any case, enough is enough.



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review 2017-11-04 03:13
Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh
Someone to Wed (A Westcott Novel) - Mary Balogh

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.

Wren has hidden herself away from the world but without her aunt and uncle, she has grown lonely. Deciding that her inheritance should be good for something, she decides to buy herself a husband. 
Alexander was happy in his life but now finding himself an earl of an impoverished estate, his life has been turned upside down. 
What starts off as a business proposition could end up being a fairy tale. 

"I am twenty-nine years old, very nearly thirty, and I would like…someone to wed." 

Third in the Wescott series we come to Alexander's story. The previous two books set the storyline of the previous Earl of Riverdale dying and exposing that his second marriage was bigamist. His three children are declared bastards while a daughter from the first marriage is found in an orphanage and suddenly legitimate. I did not read the previous two books and appreciated how Balogh smoothly and organically explained how Alexander became the Earl. Balogh relayed important information and characters but didn't info dump and in fact integrated all those previous characters into this story, creating a believable and familial world. You could feasibly start the series here. 

Her instinct was to hide behind veils within veils, and she had done it for so long that she did not know how to cast those veils aside. 

The star of this story and where most of the heavy emotional lifting comes from is our heroine Wren. She was born with a large birthmark covering half of her face and a mother who puts vanity above all else. When she is ten, her aunt takes her from her home and eventually she and her husband adopt Wren. Unfortunately, those important formative years with her cruel mother keep Wren from having any self-worth. Wren always wears a veil to cover her face unless around her aunt and uncle. When they die she becomes incredibly lonely and decides to buy a husband. Her new neighbor, the Earl of Riverdale, is third on her list for potential husbands but he may be just too good looking. 

You'll feel awful for Wren as she uses an ice queen persona to keep her pain and self shielded. Balogh masterfully created a perfect hero for Wren in Alexander. He perfectly complements the situation by being wary of the heroine's pain but also acknowledges it; there are no quick simple solutions in this story. This wasn't even a slow burn but a slow thawing; you'll need to wait until around the half-way mark before our couple starts to really get moving. 

I appreciated this building and forming of their relationship but I also thought the second half dragged on a bit. This is definitely not a "modern" historical, characters and mannerisms stay true to the time period, emotions and actions are a bit more constrained. While the larger cast of characters helped create a full world, it also stole away from my lead's romance more than I would have liked, the story had a tendency to slowly meander. 

Alexander's sister and mother and how they engaged and tried to understand Wren brought such a wonderful warmth to the story; I love when women characters kindly engage with each other. Alexander and Wren were such intelligent characters but I did think Wren’s internal declaration of love felt a bit quick as I don't think the "special" connection with Alexander had been quite made yet, he was the first and only man to show her attention in her life. 

A little slow and meandering towards the end but Wren will have you emotional and incredibly happy that she found the handsome Alexander. 

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text 2017-11-02 17:31
Reading Update: 15%
Someone to Wed (A Westcott Novel) - Mary Balogh

"My money would come at too high a price?" she asked.

"There is great pain behind those words," he said. "It is your pain that makes me hesitate, Miss Hoyden."


This hero, y'all. I feel like I'm in for an deep emotional read.

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text 2017-08-10 11:42
REVIEW BY DEBBIE - A Hero For The Empire (The Dragon's Bidding #1) by Christina Westcott
A Hero for the Empire (The Dragon's Bidding) - Christina Westcott

A beautiful cybernetic SpecOps agent, and immortal mercenary, and a telepathic cat. 

Commander Kimber FitzWarren is running on borrowed time. The cybernetic augmentations that give her superhuman strength and speed have also shortened her life. The success of her next mission is imperative, not only to save her Empire, but because this operation could be her last. 

She joins a group of idealistic officers plotting to topple the corrupt Imperial government, but the only key to placing missing military legend Arianne Ransahov on the throne lies with the one man who knows how to locate her, mercenary Wolf Youngblood. 

Wolf has recently survived one Imperial assassination attempt, so when Fitz shows up in his bedroom at 0-dark-30, he’s reluctant to trust her, until another assassin tries to kill them both. 

Pursued by Imperial warships, swarmed by mind-sucking parasites, and attacked by giant alien bugs, they’re left with no one to depend on but each other...and Wolf's wise-cracking telepathic cat, Jumper. A bond grows between the pair, one so strong even their secrets can't destroy it, but before Fitz and Wolf can explore what's left of their future together, they first have to survive this mission.


@CWestcottAuthor, @debbiereadsbook, #Science_Fiction, #Cyberpunk, #Space_Opera, 4 out of 5 (very good)


Source: sites.google.com/site/archaeolibrarian/debbie/aherofortheempirethedragonsbidding1bychristinawestcott
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