Kitty getting ready to pounce!

Beware of bluestockings and demon cats that come a-knocking.

The captain's bluestocking mistressOkay, this book made me laugh. Perhaps not for the best reasons, but when you have a girl on the cover who is as sexy as this one, an invisible, forgettable wallflower is NOT how you would expect her to be described.

She smoothed out her skirts. It wasn’t the few extra pounds on her frame, or that she was an unrepentant bluestocking. Her lifelong curse was the unfortunate fact of being utterly, absolutely, one hundred percent…forgettable. (pg 7, ebook)

Granted, I know that the art department often takes a little leeway with covers, but I think this book would have been better served if you did not stare at such a stunning young woman with piercing eyes who is not at all plump as the book describes her. I just can’t believe that the men of the ton would not remember this young woman. They would be clamoring to meet her in Almacks or any other ballroom.

If I can get passed this discrepancy which I do not blame the author entirely for (hey, authors do have say in how the covers look, at least at my publishing house!), I did enjoy the book. It only took me a couple of hours to read, so if you want something to fill an afternoon, this is an entertaining choice. I especially enjoyed the antics of the cat (although I do slightly resent that it was characterized like a demon cat), but I did find great humor in the patterns that the main character, Jane, embroidered on all manner of items that the cat shredded.

Pros:

  • Lighthearted moments mixed with darker issues, like that of a soldier recovering from traumatic war memories
  • Quick escape with a bookworm heroine

Cons:

  • A bit of inconsistency within the text itself. The author loves to describe Jane as unforgettable. She even has a plain, forgettable name. People meet her numerous times and promptly forget who she is as soon as she walks away. However, near the end, we suddenly are expected to believe that 2,000 people know who she is and where she is sitting in a theatre?
  • Also, it is a bit far-fetched that Jane is beyond shy and can barely think in the beginning of the text when Captain Xavier Grey shows up at the theatre, yet she suddenly overnight becomes a confidant young woman setting out to seduce a man by showing up unexpected with a trunk at his cottage? That’s some courage, right there!
  • The author must be a dog lover (heaven forbid on this blog!) or have had the world’s worst cat to be inspired to create the cat character Egui.
  • New York Times really needs to be italicized on the cover. Sorry, as someone who works at a major publishing house, I notice that sort of thing. ^_^*

Overall rating: I like the book. I wasn’t bored but it wasn’t 100% believable for me. It was easy to set it down and then come back to it because I wasn’t dying to know what happened next. I guess it was slightly predictable, but that isn’t necessary a horrible thing since that’s why most people like romances. They are easy to read!

Three/Five Stars for Erica Ridley‘s The Captain’s Bluestocking Mistress. Book 3 of The Dukes of War series.

 

Advertisements

Cracking Open “An Elegant Facade”

An Elegant Facade by Kristi Ann HunterWhen you’ve been reading romance books as long as I have, it’s a bit hard for an author to come up with a new plot twist that you haven’t read some form of in another novel. In An Elegant Facade, author Kristi Ann Hunter did just that.

If you don’t mind a wee bit of a spoiler, then please continue reading.

Lady Georgina Hawthorne, the daughter of an earl, like so many other women, feels like she HAS to marry well. The problem is, she has to get someone to the altar before they find out she can’t do what any well-bred lady can do: read.

Dyslexia was not recognized as a problem until the late 19th century, so if anyone knew of Lady Georgina’s problem, they would have thought she was stupid and definitely not wife material. After all, what good is a wife that cannot handle estate management? That’s why Lady Georgina strives so hard to make herself the Incomparable of the season. However, what happens when someone catches on that she has a hard time reading? You’ll have to read the book to find out if Lady Georgina gets ruined or if Mr. Colin McCrae is able to save her–and possibly win her heart.

I definitely enjoyed reading this Christian fiction book that I received in exchange for an honest review from Bethany House Publishers. Following Lady Georgina’s story was an emotional ride, resulting in me sometimes wanting to bonk her on the head for not seeing the worth of the title-less gentleman right in front of her. Mr. Colin McCrae and she butted heads, but as they started to understand each other, love bloomed before they were willing to recognize it. If you want a book with an imperfect heroine, this is an excellent choice.

Before wrapping up my review, in case anyone from the publisher ever reads this, I thought I’d point out something about the title. Although it’s a good title, using the word “facade” makes it seem like the only thing Lady Georgina has to offer is a beautiful exterior. I feel like this goes against one of the main points of the book–that those with the at-that-time unknown dyslexia are inherently broken–all of Lady Georgina’s additional internal attributes are worthless in comparison to her beauty. Maybe I’m reading too much into it–but that’s just some food for thought.

If you decide to pick up this book because of my review, I’d love it if you let me know!

 

 

 

 

 

I hope the pirate’s daughter won’t come for me because of this review…

How to Beguile a Duke by Ally Broadfield

hmm…this dress may not be the best cover choice! It’s a beautiful cover, but where are the stays to keep it nice and tight? She could definitely keep her cutlass under her skirt in this loose dress!

The spirited Catherine Malboeuf has just arrived in England to reclaim her ancestral home, Walsley Manor, and a valuable missing heirloom. Nicholas Adair, the attractive and frustratingly inflexible Duke of Boulstridge, however, is quite unwilling to sell the estate back to Catherine. Unless, of course, she accepts a small wager…
Nick will sell Walsley Manor if—and only if—Catherine secures an offer of marriage from an eligible member of the ton before the end of the London season.

You know when you’ve finished a good romance book, but you can’t quite figure out a way to distinguish it from all of the others you’ve read?

That is how I feel about How to Beguile a Duke by Ally Broadfield. It was a good story but it lacked that spark for me in books that are generally published by Entangled Publishing. I was so excited to read this story based on the enticing book summary, but that exciting tension of two people (Catherine and Nick) both fighting to win a wager while struggling to fight their growing attraction..well, that just fell flat for me. It was quite obvious early on in the story how the plot would progress. I also believe the author tried to make the story different from other regency romances by having the two main characters hunt for a missing tiara by reading a journal, yet they never actually did any serious hunting in the manor house in which it was supposedly located. I felt like the sole purpose of the journal was really to make Catherine blush in front of the duke (Nick) for reading salacious entries rather than to honestly offer clues that would allow the missing diamond tiara to be discovered.

Compared to some other Entangled Select novels I’ve read as an advanced reader, I feel like there wasn’t quite as much character development that would have helped me connect to the characters as strongly as I would have liked. At one point, Nick actually ticked me off when he called Catherine “my little impatient one” right when they were about to make love for the first time. That line just struck me wrong–like the two characters weren’t two equal adults consummating their relationship. I know that unmarried women were shielded from knowing about sexual relationships as much as possible in that time period, but I just couldn’t buy that Catherine was THAT innocent when she was reading out loud some juicy sexual exploits written by her great-grandmother. True, she blushed some, but still..

Basically, I’m being tough on this novel, but I would still recommend this novel if you want a quick read, say at the beach or when traveling. It won’t knock your socks off, but it will still help you pass the time in an enjoyable way. For $.99, it is an affordable source of entertainment for a few hours!

Scotland: Land of Sexy Lairds and Hot Accents

I’m anxiously awaiting the poll results to see whether Scotland will separate from the United Kingdom. I have to be honest and say that I haven’t followed the news closely to weigh the pros and cons of secession. However, part of me hopes that Scotland will secede just because so many Scots fought valiantly to prevent English takeover centuries ago. It’s not my fault that clan flags are waving and Scottish bagpipes are playing in my head. That I blame entirely on romance novels. Yes, I’m definitely a lassie who has read way too many novels about sexy highlander lords abducting some wenches while simultaneously protecting their castles. Oh, and I guess I shouldn’t fail to mention Bonnie Prince Charles. After all, any Scottish person worth his weight in haggis fought to put the true prince back on the Scottish throne during the 18th century. 😉

To celebrate this historic day, here are some great Scottish historical romances that I’ve eaten up over the years.

Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya Banks         The Knight's Temptress by Amanda Scott

The Bride by Julie Garwood      The Laird Who Loved Me by Karen Hawkins