Review: The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan
Swoon Factor: Keep your smelling salts handy
Not too long ago one of our followers suggested we check out Courtney Milan’s novella, The Governess Affair. At the time (and possibly even now?) the ebook was available to download for free in a whole bunch of places so naturally, I took the opportunity to get myself a copy. And I’m so glad that I did.
Selena Barton has set herself up outside the Duke of Clermont’s home until he agrees to compensate her for getting her fired from her position as a governess. Unfortunately for her, the duke set’s his man of business, Hugo Marshall on her. Hugo is also known as the Wolf of Clermont and is absolutely ruthless about protecting the duke’s (and by extension his own) interests.
As they engage in a battle of wits they begin to develop a respect and understanding for each other but, as is often the way of these things, neither Selena or Hugo are in a position to back down.
It all sounds reasonably straight forward, right? Wrong. There is so much going on in this novella, but the unfolding of each new twist is half the fun so I’m leery of giving too much away. There were moments when I was sure I knew exactly what was about to happen, or I was bracing myself for ginormous leaps in logic and pacing only to have Milan side step it all.
Novella’s aren’t normally my style when it comes to reading romance. Generally they feel a little too rushed for me to believe in the HEA but that really wasn’t the case with The Governess Affair. I’ll admit to a few moments when I wanted more, but by the end of the novella I felt secure.
That said, it was obviously written to be a teaser for the Sinister Series. In this way the brevity worked so very well. I was definitely left wanting more by the time I finished. Not to detract from the skill and artistry of Milan’s writing but that’s some seriously clever marketing right there. I’m sure I’m not the only person who will have downloaded The Governess Affair only to get hooked in so deep they *need* to get the rest of the series.
Book: Lover at Last
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood
Author: J R Ward
Publication date: March 2012
Genre/sub genre: Paranormal
Swoon Factor: I’m not feeling anything but disgust.
Um I hated this book. If it had been a hardcopy and not an ecopy I would have thrown it across my flat so many times.
I was so looking forward to it and it just didn’t do it. First off J R Ward’s books have always been crack, they’re flawed but so damn addictive I can look past the flaws. This time there was nowhere to hide. I’m just going to list the ways it failed because I’m struggling to find anything nice to say.
- The sex was terrible. I don’t want to read about ‘penetration’ unless I’m back in year 6 sex ed. There is nothing sexy about that. To quote Fat Amy ‘Not a good enough reason to use the word penetrate’
-Penetrating what? Ward has a ton of names for vagina but can’t say butt? arse? ass? bottom? or come up with anything? I get the feeling that a lot of this is tied up in homophobic censorship. Yep I said it.
- Layla’s needing. So when Bella went through her needing every time she had sex it got worse, she needed sex and sex and sex and sex and Zsadist was practically in a coma by the end. But Quinn leaves her? after one go? to suffer through her needing? yes I get it he’s gay but at that point he’s unaware of that and having sex with women all over the shop.
- Layla get’s preggerz after one go. Similar to Bella, but was it not stressed with Bella that it’s super rare for pregnancy to happen straight away? or is this just a vamp myth much like the human equivalent?
- Layla’s romance with Xcor. Book 12 or 13? and awkward. so Awkward… does he actually put his finger to her mouth to stop her talking? and no kissing? whut?
-Xcor’s ‘disfigurement’. What is his disfigurement? did I miss something? or is it like Qhuinn’s different coloured eyes? a total non issue that J R Ward is trying to make seem terrible?
-J R Ward’s disability BS. Has J R Ward ever met a person with a disability? she treats Wrath’s vision impairment like it’s the end of the world and totally justifies his lying (by omission) to Beth about babies. Obviously this is an issue that has carried on since the first book but it’s really bugging me. As someone who has grown up around people with disability’s I feel like J R Ward really needs to talk to someone with disability about how it’s not the end of their life.
-Qhuinn’s virginity. So it’s not true love unless someone brings their virginity along with them?
-Qhuinn’s losing of said virginity. 1. it didn’t hurt, so it doesn’t always have to hurt but BLAY DIDN’T LUBE UP. 2. Blay didn’t notice. In fact he just jammed his cock right in Qhuinn’s butt..
-Saxon isn’t a terrible guy, in fact he got treated like crap and that was like totes ok. NO IT WASN’T.
-Miscarriage. The magical cure for Layla’s almost miscarriage was just the worst. seriously. Just no.
So this is the worst review I’ve ever done. I don’t even know how to do this. I try and say something nice for every crap thing I say for a book but I can’t even come up with something nice. seriously. it was just that bad.
Here at OaPC we try to keep on top of the latest releases, but we know there is nothing better than reading a review about a book that hasn’t been released yet. We are currently in the process of applying to be ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) reviewers, but if any of our lovely followers (or Lurkers, we know you’re out there) want to send us something to review, we’d be more than happy. Just send us a message through our tumblr and we’ll work out all the details.
If you want to send us a physical copy, remember we live in Australia.
We will also accept digital copies in epub or kindle format.
Have an awesome weekend and keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming reviews!
Review: The Summer of You by Kate Noble
Swoon Factor: Keep your smelling salts handy
I decided to head home for the Easter weekend and take a little time to relax in the familiar. As it turns out, spending more than three consecutive days in the company of my father can be a little … tiring so I found myself retreating into a book. Specifically, The Summer of You by Kate Noble.
Lady Jane Cummings has been outmanoeuvred and now she has to spend the summer with her ailing father and good-for-nothing brother at their family estate, rather than in London (where there are doctors and family friends that could help look after her father). Add to this the people of Merrymore can’t quite forget the trouble she used to cause as a child and are struggling to see her as the young lady she has become, and it’s no wonder she’s looking for a means of escape. She finds it in Bryne Worth; wounded war hero, brooding gentleman, total grouch, and (according to town gossip) elusive highwayman.
Jane and Bryne begin a tentative friendship over jasmine tea. Neither is particularly interested in sharing their secrets at first but they become a sort of safe haven for each other. Someone that can be absolutely counted on and that kind of person is rare for them both. And then of course, there’s their attraction.
The Summer of You is the second novel in a series however it works very well as a standalone. It’s also the kind of novel that you can keep coming back to. To be honest I’ve read it at least twice before. For me it’s a comfort read, but the kind of one that I go to when I need more than the standard sexy protagonists trading witty remarks. There’s depth and emotion and sexy protagonists trading witty remarks.
Jane’s family situation touches me in a very personal way. She’s suddenly found herself as The Responsible Adult and isn’t sure how to handle that. I’ve been there, and frankly it would have been wonderful if I’d had a Bryne Worth around to drink tea with. But I guess in the meantime I have The Summer of You.
Swoon Factor: Eyelashes flutter…every four chapters or so
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Open Season is a thriller or mystery novel, judging by the cover. No surly heroes or swooning heroines with gaping bodices here. But Linda Howard’s 2002 novel is a mystery romance and the territory is evenly spread between the two genres. I like these types of romances because sometimes I want a little more to think about than the development of a relationship in a romance novel.
Daisy Minor is a bored librarian who, after an epiphany on her 34th birthday, decides to shake up her life and her style. She gets a makeover, a haircut and starts going to bars to meet men. I love librarian romances! While I don’t think every librarian romance needs a Not Another Teen Movie style makeover, in this case it is central to some plot points in the book.
Chief of Police, Jack Russo (ex-SWAT by the way) is introduced before Daisy’s makeover (big tick there). He’s new in town, hired by the Mayor to usher in a new era without small town politics getting in the way of actual police work. Their relationship starts off with a mini argument (love-hate - another tick). However, the initial description of his character had me confused and for a little while I thought he was going to be villain. He’s described as athletic, with a thick neck and sloping shoulders. His eyes are full of cocky arrogance and his full lips seemed to be on the verge of sneering. I don’t know why but for me, villains sneer and heroes smirk. It’s only a slight difference but it changes my whole perspective on the character. For that reason, I decided to imagine him as an older Tyler Hoechlin.
The book is funny and moments and sexy in others; the mystery driving the plot is interesting and there are a few twists. Overall, it was a good read but nothing spectacular. It is the first romance novel over $10 that I’ve bought for my kindle. I don’t regret the purchase but neither do I consider it to be a purchase of great value.
To get value for money, go for the mass-market paperback and enjoy an interesting tale of romance and intrigue that will keep you entertained for a night or two.
I would also love any recommendations for librarian romance you would like me to check out!
Swoon Factor: Read this one reclining on a chaise while someone fans you
So … yeah … it’s been a very long time since I’ve written a review. As it turns out 2012 has been a very busy year. Along with studying and assignmenting, I’ve suddenly found myself with roughly 12 jobs, thus ending my job drought. All this aside I haven’t stopped reading, and having opinions on what I’m reading, I’ve just postponed writing those opinions down. That’s all changing. I’ve regrouped, and come up with a fool proof plan to ensure I still get reviews out. Starting with About That Night by Julie James.
This is the third book in the FBI/US Attorney series,although it can be read as a standalone. Rylann Pierce is an assistant U.S attorney at the top of her game professionally if not personally. She’s recently moved to Chicago after a disappointing end to a long-term relationship and is looking to get stuck into work. Enter Kyle Rhodes. Kyle is of course the brother of Jordan Rhodes from book two of the series. Kyle has recently been release from prison after having been infamously dubbed the ‘Twitter terrorist’ and indicted on multiple federal charges. He’s also a billionaire heir playboy, and the guy that Rylann almost dated in college.
Is it sounding complicated yet? Maybe it’s because I’ve read the previous books (along with a couple of Ms James’ other releases) but it’s actually pretty straight forward once you get past the back story of why a convicted criminal is a perfectly awesome hero for a lawyer heroine (and they really are perfect for each other). There is a subplot wherein Kyle is the star witness in Rylann’s case meaning that they can’t be together while the trial is ongoing as it’s a conflict of interest and unethical and so damn frustrating because there are sparks people.
About That Night was thoroughly enjoyable. If you’ve been looking for a way to get back into contemporary romance anything by Julie James is a great place to start. Her novels are effortless and enjoyable to read, to the point where you have to be a little careful you don’t accidently catch the wrong train home because you were too involved in the scene to take notice of exactly where the train was going … not that I’ve ever done that …
Review: Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
Swoon Factor: Someone pass the smelling salts
I haven’t done a review for a little while, and part of the reason (aside from work being very busy the last couple of months) is that I haven’t read something that begged me to share it with other people. Until now. I hadn’t read any Loretta Chase until the other day, and now I am glad I started with Lord of Scoundrels. This book is officially up there with The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie as one of my top romance novels. I read this on my kindle over a couple of days, but if I’d had the time, I would have spent the whole day in bed reading it cover to cover.
The main characters of a romance novel are really important when I look for a new book to read. I have to say, I love the depth of these two characters.
The heroine is Jessica Trent, a witty, tough, very sensible young woman. She knows how to haggle and she can spot an under-priced treasure a mile away. She’s a bluestocking and is very independent, but she’s also feminine.
Our hero is the Marquess of Dain, Sebastian. He’s a tall, dark, brute of a man. I pictured a younger, stocky, olive-skinned Alan Rickman when I was reading the book. His mother was a Florentine noblewoman who ran away with her lover when he was eight, and abandoned him to a father who hated him. He was abused as a child and is very sensitive about his appearance - he actually has very low self-esteem. In spite of that, he knows how to make money and take care of his estates.
What I love about his character is that he has Legitimate Issues. The author hasn’t had to force a problem or fault onto his character. His backstory - which was very interesting and not at all boring - is what makes him. Both he and Jessica have depth. They aren’t cardboard cut outs suffering from the Big Misunderstanding. What makes for a great story is that Jessica, ever the sensible one, sees the problems and tries to fix them in a logical way. Sometimes it doesn’t always work because of the issues that Sebastian hasn’t told her about, but from my point of view, she was just doing the sensible thing. I know I’m repeating that word, but it’s a breath of fresh air to have a truly sensible heroine.
Aside from great characters, there is good tension and mystery weaved into the plot. I would have given it an A+, but I just wanted it to go on and on! The ending was almost rushed for me, but maybe that’s because I read it so quickly.
Do you have any suggestions for the next Loretta Chase book I should read?
Review: Seize the Fire by Laura Kinsale
Grade: B +
Some of you may remember that once upon a time I was looking for a recommendation. I was about to go backpacking and needed to choose a book. I decided to go with Seize the Fire because according to fellow OaPC member Gabby, Laura Kinsale is always the answer.
Let’s take a second to look at the plot, shall we? Our heroine, Olympia is a princess and a rebel. She’s looking to return to Oriens to lead a revolution that will stop her uncle from seizing power. Of course she can’t do this on her own, as all true readers of romance know it takes two people to successfully overthrow an evil dictator, which leads me to our hero Sheridan. He’s a captain and an unwilling (as well as a little undeserving) naval hero. Sheridan sees an opportunity with Olympia and sets out to play on both teams in an effort to walk away with double the profit and none of the problems. And then they begin to look beyond each other’s surface and the romance really takes off.
I’m going to admit, I really struggled to get into this book. Kinsale’s writing is always strong, but she doesn’t seem to mind if you don’t like her characters, a very unusual trait for a romance novel. While this breathes a life into her characters that can sometimes be lacking with other authors, it also makes for a certain level of frustration. For around 1/3 of the novel this was very much my problem. Olympia annoyed me with all her naivety and lack of understanding about anything, and Sheridan was just plain unlikeable. Except I was in a remote area with no other reading choices for two weeks so I persevered and I’m glad I did.
There’s a lot of personal growth going on in Seize the Fire. As their journey progresses Olympia and Sheridan are both forced to re-evaluate the way they see the world, and the way they interact with other people. They each have some big trust issues to overcome with eachother as well. All in all their growth makes it well worth any initial frustrations.
So recently Smartbitches retweeted a sex fact….. Women who read romance have twice as much sex as those who don’t. My response was…….. sure maybe how would I know I’m not partaking in a sexual relationship at the moment and then I went into a Victoria Dahl marathon and I was like wow more like three times the sex. So over the next few days I’ll be reviewing some of Victoria Dahl’s hot as hell historical romances. I’ve read Dahl’s work before (mostly contemporaries ) and after the continual praise from friends and tweeps alike I decided to request her entire catalogue for Christmas. But my parents living in the country (and my brother being lazy) meant they could only find ‘It’s Always been you’. So here I shall start. AND ONCE AGAIN I READ OUT OF ORDER *boo hiss*.
Title: It’s Always Been You.
Author: Victoria Dahl
Genre: Historical Romance
Publication Date: 2011
Swoon Factor: I spent quite a bit of time on the chaise lounge
Reviewer: Sarah (totessubversive)
So our Hero Aiden York was in love with Katie (our heroine), until not long after a falling out she dies. Upon her death Aiden becomes a cold heartless man. Fast forward ten years and Katie’s back (but not from the dead). Katie has set up shop as a coffee merchant, supposedly waiting for her husband to join her. Aiden and Katie can’t deny their passion, an illicit affair ensues, Aiden still so deeply in love with Katie tries to convince her to divorce her husband, even seeking advice from his brother in law, Katie is not willing to divorce her husband because in fact she is really a widow who has fled after seriously injuring her stepson upon his accusations that she murdered his father. Soon her past catches up with her and Aiden steps up to save the day.
I did feel the reasons for their separation a bit weak, he loved so deep but didn’t do enough (in my opinion) to fight for her. But over all I loved this story!
The cover is pretty awesome, Gabby and I have talked about having romance cover wallpaper and this would totally be on my wall!
Review: Duchess in Love by Eloisa James
So I’ve been having a pretty hectic couple of months and although I’ve done a lot of reading I haven’t really found any time to ponder my reading choices enough for a review. But I’m taking the time now.
Gina and Camden, the Duke of Girton were forced into marriage by their parents in an attempt at damage control twelve years ago. And promptly after the ceremony Camden jumped out the window and ran away to Italy. We can’t really blame him though, he was only eighteen at the time and his bride was an eleven year old girl he had thought was his cousin until the day before their marriage. But now he’s back to finally give Gina the annulment she’s been asking for so she can marry the man she loves.
Here’s where things go wrong with this very noble plan:
First his solicitor has decided to make the annulment process harder than necessary. Why? Out of a twisted sense of loyalty basically.
Second: As it turns out Gina became quite beautiful during his twelve year absence, so maybe he wants to flirt with her a little. At least until the paperwork comes through.
Third: Sebastian, the man Gina is planning on marrying seems to be getting cold feet. And is developing a fascination for one of her best friends.
As far as set ups go I’ll admit this was a pretty messy plot. Even for me. Somehow we have to go from Gina being completely in love with Sebastian and wanting to annul her marriage to her being completely in love with Camden and wanting to stay with her husband forever and ever. Problematic? Absolutely. Except this is Eloisa James we’re talking about, the Queen of the Complicated Relationships. It’s hard enough to make the whole “We’ve been estranged for years but actually let’s try and make this marriage work” story work without adding in rivals and impending annulments. And to add to all this there are sub-romances going on amongst Gina’s friends. There’s really only a couple of authors I’d truely trust enough to be able to stick with it. She is definitely one of them.
There were times when I felt like everything was moving too fast, and the plot could definitely have done with a little parring back but having said that I enjoyed it. I even got caught up in one of the sub-romances (between Tuppy and Carola in case you were wondering). You can really see James developing her skills and style that has made her Desperate Duchesses series so popular.
So if you’re in the mood for a little crazy but you need it done well, check out Duchess in Love.
Oh and apparently it’s part of a series and for once I’ve started with the first one! I’m normally like Sarah and start somewhere in the middle and just read each book as I find them (as in completely out of order).