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aerysa
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PostSubject: Book Reviews   Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:35 am

Since reading takes such a great deal amount of time, it's always nice to hear other people's opinions before deciding whether you want to dive into the book yourself or not. As we slowly get to know each other better, and our various tastes in books, manga, etc., it also helps us determine a book's interest value in comparison to our own potential enjoyment.

I for one would rather hear the opinion of someone I know, rather than that vague voice out there somewhere.

haha, I guess this thread is mainly for you silvery since you seem to be the most prolific reader among us, but anyone can feel free to share their opinions! Even if it's a book you didn't enjoy. Don't feel shy Smile

(This thread is more generic than the other topics where this has been happening.)

Nov 18, 2013
Some of the older reviews do not follow this guideline, but please use it to help structure your review so we can gain some consistency in this thread. Thanks to silvery for "developing" it~

Formatting for reviews:

1) Title + Author (+ Series info, if necessary)
2) Characters involved (optional)
3) Summary/Synopsis
4) Review
5) Rating (out of 5)
6) Sizzle meter (out of 10)

The Sizzle meter is used to give a warning regarding the smut content within a novel. People have different comfort levels with it, so this rating helps people weed out books they would or would not want to read, based on that criteria.

Sizzle meter ratings
0-2 = no smut to chaste kisses
3-5 = may contain smut, french kisses
6-8 = moderate to high content of smut, kisses that burn
9-10 = very high content of smut, erotica

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Last edited by aerysa on Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:28 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Added format guidelines)
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:28 am

Wow! I actually finished a book... haha~ And it wasn't the one I started reading before. That seems to happen a lot - that I'll start a book, yet not get around to finishing it ^^;;

Anyways, the book I just finished is called Curricle & Chaise by Lizzie Church. Story description from Good Reads as follows:

When Mrs Thomas Barrington was so inconsiderate as to depart this world without so much as a ‘by your leave’, leaving two daughters to burden their aunts and precious little else to cover their maintenance, their futures looked very uncertain indeed.

Of course, it was entirely natural that two young ladies of 19 and 7 would feel bereft at the loss of their mama, but to Miss Lydia and Miss Susan Barrington their change in circumstances demanded a total and somewhat painful adjustment to their whole way of life.

With their father less than two years dead and no male relative available to render them assistance it quickly became apparent that they must learn to shift for themselves. Even this might have proved tolerable. After all, Lydia was an independent sort of a girl, more than capable of holding her own against importunate tradesmen, and more than happy to bring her younger sister up on her own.

It would not do, however. The state in which Lydia discovered the family affairs made independent existence quite out of the question. In spite of all her best efforts, within a few months of her mama’s death, and scarcely out of full mourning, it became apparent to her that there was nothing to be done but to acknowledge the inevitable and appeal to her relations for help….

It is 1810. Lydia, now penniless, is forced to seek a home with an aunt and uncle who have no interest in her whatsoever. But there are plenty of others with an interest in her – including the handsome but selfish son of the family – her cousin Charles - and two elegant brothers who live nearby.

Each, in his own way, poses an intriguing challenge to her. Luckily Lydia is well able to look after herself but she gets into a number of scrapes which almost cost her any chance of happiness before finally managing to sort things out in the end.



First off, a lot of reviews on that site compared the story to Jane Austen's writing, which was both a strength and/or weakness in other people's opinion. Personally not familiar with her writing (yup, never read Jane Austen!), I have nothing to compare it against. In general, I don't try to compare authors anyways, because everyone has their distinct style and make my own judgment on the book as an individual entity.


This was my first time reading any of her work since I downloaded it as a freebie from Kindle. So that said, I think the book was an enjoyable read, even if the pace is somewhat slow. It was also a clean read, so if that's your preference, you can't go wrong.


For the most part, the characters are likeable, especially Lydia. A now orphaned girl who has a younger sister to look after, yet forced to rely on the charity of relatives, she still holds a strong sense of "self". Yet never in an overbearing sort of way to make her unlikeable. Rather, you feel for her as you experience the sufferings that she goes through, and celebrate with her for those triumphant moments of her life.


The description tries for a bit of suspense on who she ends up with, but face it... It's pretty obvious when you read romance novels, knowing who pairs up with who. It's more about the "how" they get there.


The book is filled with moments from all rainbows of the human emotion - anger, compassion, jealousy, etc. So in that way, it has a completeness to it that it wasn't all "one thing or another"... If that makes any sense at all. There were a couple funny scenes that I remember, and one in particular was also quite adorable.


It's a book that is filled with a lot of characters, but each one does their part to complete the story. Which is apparently really common in Jane Austen work? Once again, I wouldn't know.


It definitely wasn't a scintillating tale in the sense that I couldn't put it down, because I could - and did. But it's enjoyable enough that you would want to keep reading to find out what happens.


Final Verdict: Recommended, especially if you're looking for something more slow-paced, yet still interesting, and non-smutty.

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silvery
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:55 pm

Oh hey, this is a good idea. Wish I'd thought about it Smile

on to the reviews:

The Duchess of Love series by Sally Mackenzie:

Comprising of three books so far, I would say that it was enjoyable. The first story, The Duchess of Love is actually a novella and not a full story. Therefore it will feel rushed. I think the meeting and declaration of love was in about 2-3 days so yes, some people will feel dissatisfied.

The next two books, Bedding Lord Ned and Surprising Lord Jack are about Venus and Drew's (Leads in the first book) second and third son (therefore there will be one on the eldest as well Wink). I rather enjoyed the two books, and I can see how the author has improved her style since her Naked series. The characters are better developed, and the writing style has improved overall. Swede will definitely nitpick on the speaking style (uses 'nah' here and there among other things), the rather quick acceptance of the Ton over the heroine with a scandal and the overuse of special licenses. But other than those, I find the character development good and the pace right. The author's love of concentrating on past characters is still rather prevalent and can be confusing if you haven't read the previous stories first. As with her other series though, her endings are rather hanging and you will feel like there are a lot of loose ends everywhere.

Overall verdict: A good read, character development is better and plot is not so "all over the place" as compared to the previous series. Do read all the stories in order or you will spoil the plot for the earlier stories. I found the stories funny, sometimes touching and well, a good way to pass the time. I have hopes that the last story will tie things up, but I doubt it.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Fri Jun 21, 2013 5:05 pm

The Autumn Bride by Anne Gracie

The latest series by Anne Gracie! Very Happy I was really looking forward to it when aerysa mentioned it so yes, one of the first books to be read when it was shared Laughing And it doesn't disappoint. Abby is my kind of heroine; smart, brave, selfless. She would do anything to help her sisters, even if it means breaking and entering. And when she finds Lady Beatrice, she just as quickly adds the neglected old lady under her care. It's obvious that she and Max, the hero would be at odds. After all, he knows that she's an imposter.And Max! Stern yet kind, frightening in his power but still so honourable. I had been pleasantly surprised to see the name of my hometown (Malacca) mentioned in one of the chapters but was rather disappointed that nothing about it was really mentioned. Then again, the location for the courting was in London after all.

Overall verdict: For the beginning of her latest series, it started on the right footing. Abby may be a little too idealistic considering the hardships she's been through but that appears to be her only weakness. All in all, a good start and has one anticipating the rest of the series Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:32 pm

(yes, I think I'm reading a little too much too fast...)

No Place for a Lady by Louise Allen

This was one of the stories that was shared by aerysa that I read at random. The premise of the story sounded very interesting that I had to try it. It was really quite good. There was a touch of humour, a dash of action, a lot of romance (of course!) and two very well developed characters to pull it all off. I found the story enjoyable. While it's not the can't put down, can't bear not to know what happens next type of stories (meaning I will finish the book in one sitting, no matter how late it is), I still felt compelled to finish the story and find out what happens next. Bree is steadfast, brave, smart, practical (sometimes too practical) and has a sense of humour. Ditto Max. together they overcome whatever odds thrown at them and go for their happily ever after.

Overall verdict: Enjoyable and worth the read. I found the ending (with the smut) a tad over and felt that even if it were omitted it would still have been a good ending. Bree's only fault (to me) is that she's a bit over practical and perhaps too trusting. As for Max, it's his one body modification which I find a little dubious.

P.S. I've also reviewed The Transformation of the Shelley Sisters by the same author, which is also an enjoyable read.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:27 pm

(Me again...)

I finally got down to reading The Orchard Valley Brides and Orchard Valley Grooms, Valerie, Stephanie, Norah and Lone Star Lovin by Debbie Macomber. Valerie, Stephanie and Norah were about three sisters who found love during and after their father's heart attack while Lone Star Lovin was about Sherry, a friend of Norah's (also an ex of Colby, Norah's love interest)

As usual, I'll review all in one go. For the first three, the scene is during and after the heart attack of David Bloomfield. This brings two of the elder sisters flying back to be with him and how he became a matchmaker, claiming that his near death experience enabled him to see the future of his daughters, who they'd marry, how many children and so on. The stories are really sweet. For Valerie, it was about a high flying career woman who decides whether to give up her ambitions to follow her heart (you've all read the manga version, so i won't go into it much Wink)
For Stephanie, it was about Stephanie who ran away from her one true love because of immaturity and a lot of misunderstanding. Of course these are all resolved for a happy ending
in Norah, Norah, who's a nurse just happens to nurse back to health (sort of) the man who would make her think of no one else but him. Norah appears to be a backwards rendition of Valerie, where the career riding hot shot is the guy instead.

Lone Star Lovin is about Sherry Waterman, who decided that she needed a change and so uprooted herself from Orchard Valley, Oregon to move to Pepper, Texas. There she immediately gets attracted to Cody Bailman, who wanted to "cut to the chase" and marry her and be done with. Sherry of course refuses and hilarity and chemistry ensues as Cody tries his best to woo Sherry.

Overall verdictAs these books were written around the early 1990s, they have no smut whatsoever. It's all about emotions, differences and how to strike a compromise. I know that when I finished reading the books I was sighing and wishing it was the good old days (whenever that is) and romances were this simple. highly recommended Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:28 pm

Ohhh! I'd like to try! Smile 

I just finished A Hearing Heart by Bonnie Dee.
Synopsis: After the death of her fiancé, Catherine Johnson, a New York schoolteacher in 1901, travels to Nebraska to teach a one-room school and escape her sad memories. One afternoon, violence erupts in the sleepy town. Catherine saves deaf stable hand, Jim Kinney, from torture by drunken thugs.

As she takes charge of his education, teaching him to read and sign, attraction grows between them. The warmth and humor in this silent man transcends the need for speech and his eyes tell her all she needs to know about his feelings for her. But the obstacles of class difference and the stigma of his handicap are almost insurmountable barriers to their growing attachment.

Will Catherine flout society’s rules and allow herself to love again? Can Jim make his way out of poverty as a deaf man in a hearing world? And together will they beat the corrupt robber baron who has a stranglehold on the town?

Romance, love and sensuality abound in this jam-packed, old-fashioned tale with plenty of heart and some steaming hot sex.


Jim was, in my opinion, one of the greatest examples of a good guy. He's been down on his luck for basically his entire life and has been trying to claw his was to financial freedom. Something that's pretty hard to do as a deaf man, especially in 1901. Catherine is the quintessential schoolmarm. She has the staid air of an educated woman from the east. All proper behavior and manners, while she denies her true self and stifles her reactions to conform to her own ridiculous standards.

The character interactions, from start to finish, were amazing. It was so easy to feel for Jim in his situation. He seemed to attach himself to Catherine right away and I couldn't help but find it realistic. The fact that most people ignored him and labeled him an idiot because he couldn't hear made him more susceptible to get slightly dependent on someone who shows him any amount of attention. That's why I wanted to punch Catherine about a dozen times throughout this book. She would continually try to hold on to her public image of propriety by by treating Jim as if he didn't exist when other were around. She seemed embarrassed of him and he picked up on it. I won't give too much away, but some of her actions had me question the depth of the feelings she claimed to have for him.

There were a few hot scenes (for some reason I wasn't expecting them Razz). These really added to the story's theme of "secret lovers". I was really impressed with the authors ability to capture the feelings of Jim and Catherine so well, as if this book was a retelling of someones actual experience. The ending was obviously happy but, while satisfied, I couldn't help feeling that her decision in the end could/should have been made much earlier on.

Even though there were many times when I loudly proclaimed, much to the confusion of family and friends who were in my house, "Jim you can do better!!" I really enjoyed this book. This felt like real life, like a real situation, plausible. That's why I would totally recommend this book.Very Happy

Hope I did okay Embarassed
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:44 pm

That was perfect, jollychick! And really, it doesn't have to be ONLY books you recommend. They can be books that you warn us to stay far, far away from... Laughing

So someone finally got around to Orchard Valley! I've been meaning to since I really liked that one manga, but I'm a lazy reader... ^^;; I don't think the time of publication has anything to do with the lack of smut, so much as the author herself, but I could be wrong. I believe she is known for her heart-rendering stories more than anything. I could be wrong though since I have yet to read any of them... Yikes.

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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:37 am

aerysa wrote:
That was perfect, jollychick! And really, it doesn't have to be ONLY books you recommend. They can be books that you warn us to stay far, far away from... Laughing
I agree. But the problem with me is that if I don't like the book, I seldom finish it. Neutral  It's a really bad habit of mine but I have so many books to catch up with...

aerysa wrote:
So someone finally got around to Orchard Valley! I've been meaning to since I really liked that one manga, but I'm a lazy reader... ^^;; I don't think the time of publication has anything to do with the lack of smut, so much as the author herself, but I could be wrong. I believe she is known for her heart-rendering stories more than anything. I could be wrong though since I have yet to read any of them... Yikes.
Yes, I did. I'd been rereading the manga version so I finally got down to finding out what happened to the other sisters...you could be right about the author, of course, since these are the only series from her that I've read... There could be some manga versions shared here but I can't remember/be sure. Still, do read them when you have the time. They aren't very long, actually. It's about 10 chapters only.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:23 pm

silvery wrote:
The Autumn Bride by Anne Gracie

The latest series by Anne Gracie! :DI was really looking forward to it when aerysa mentioned it so yes, one of the first books to be read when it was shared :lol:And it doesn't disappoint. Abby is my kind of heroine; smart, brave, selfless. She would do anything to help her sisters, even if it means breaking and entering. And when she finds Lady Beatrice, she just as quickly adds the neglected old lady under her care. It's obvious that she and Max, the hero would be at odds. After all, he knows that she's an imposter.And Max! Stern yet kind, frightening in his power but still so honourable. I had been pleasantly surprised to see the name of my hometown (Malacca) mentioned in one of the chapters but was rather disappointed that nothing about it was really mentioned. Then again, the location for the courting was in London after all.

Overall verdict: For the beginning of her latest series, it started on the right footing. Abby may be a little too idealistic considering the hardships she's been through but that appears to be her only weakness. All in all, a good start and has one anticipating the rest of the series Wink
I read the book after reading your review, and I have to thank you for this.
I have to say this story is one of the good HQs out there... The plot, the pace, the well-developed characters... I gotta say the plot is well thought and the story flow was undeniably perfect. There are also some humors... There are points where the story get cliche (for me) but overall it's a great read. Especially if you just finished a Harlequin with overused plot, this book is like a breath of fresh air.
So, again, thank you cheers 
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Thu Sep 05, 2013 2:07 pm

silvery wrote:
aerysa wrote:
That was perfect, jollychick! And really, it doesn't have to be ONLY books you recommend. They can be books that you warn us to stay far, far away from... Laughing
I agree. But the problem with me is that if I don't like the book, I seldom finish it. Neutral  It's a really bad habit of mine but I have so many books to catch up with...
You know, that itself can be a complete book review in and of itself. A book wasn't even worth finishing, so clearly there was something flawed with it in your opinion. I'm sure we wouldn't mind to have a list of "to avoids", just as much as we would want one of things to read Razz

Veramonte wrote:
I read the book after reading your review, and I have to thank you for this.
I have to say this story is one of the good HQs out there... The plot, the pace, the well-developed characters...  I gotta say the plot is well thought and the story flow was undeniably perfect. There are also some humors... There are points where the story get cliche (for me) but overall it's a great read. Especially if you just finished a Harlequin with overused plot, this book is like a breath of fresh air.
So, again, thank you cheers
Yay! The thread is doing good~
Though... I just want to be technical (picky) here and point out that Anne Gracie's writing is not HQ writing. I don't know why people use HQ and romance interchangeably, because they're not. HQ is a category within the broader range of romance, so all HQ novels will be romance, but not all romance novels are HQ.
HQ is actually a specific company that has their own formula of what they want in a novel, and many sub-categories that cater to a specific target group. Many of the authors that we enjoy here do not belong to category of Harlequin.
Just wanted to point that out! (Mostly because it bugs me... Laughing)

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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:39 pm

aerysa wrote:
silvery wrote:
aerysa wrote:
That was perfect, jollychick! And really, it doesn't have to be ONLY books you recommend. They can be books that you warn us to stay far, far away from... Laughing
I agree. But the problem with me is that if I don't like the book, I seldom finish it. Neutral  It's a really bad habit of mine but I have so many books to catch up with...
You know, that itself can be a complete book review in and of itself. A book wasn't even worth finishing, so clearly there was something flawed with it in your opinion. I'm sure we wouldn't mind to have a list of "to avoids", just as much as we would want one of things to read Razz

Veramonte wrote:
I read the book after reading your review, and I have to thank you for this.
I have to say this story is one of the good HQs out there... The plot, the pace, the well-developed characters...  I gotta say the plot is well thought and the story flow was undeniably perfect. There are also some humors... There are points where the story get cliche (for me) but overall it's a great read. Especially if you just finished a Harlequin with overused plot, this book is like a breath of fresh air.
So, again, thank you cheers
Yay! The thread is doing good~
Though... I just want to be technical (picky) here and point out that Anne Gracie's writing is not HQ writing. I don't know why people use HQ and romance interchangeably, because they're not. HQ is a category within the broader range of romance, so all HQ novels will be romance, but not all romance novels are HQ.
HQ is actually a specific company that has their own formula of what they want in a novel, and many sub-categories that cater to a specific target group. Many of the authors that we enjoy here do not belong to category of Harlequin.
Just wanted to point that out! (Mostly because it bugs me... Laughing)
Oh, sorry... I thought everything shared in here is HQ Embarassed 
I found it shared in a forum, so I have no idea whether it is really a HQ or not.
The only way for me to determine a HQ novel from romance novel is to see the big 'Harlequin' sign in the cover Embarassed
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:23 am

Veramonte wrote:

I read the book after reading your review, and I have to thank you for this.
I have to say this story is one of the good HQs out there... The plot, the pace, the well-developed characters...  I gotta say the plot is well thought and the story flow was undeniably perfect. There are also some humors... There are points where the story get cliche (for me) but overall it's a great read. Especially if you just finished a Harlequin with overused plot, this book is like a breath of fresh air.
So, again, thank you cheers 
You're welcome Very Happy I'm glad my review helped.

aerysa wrote:
You know, that itself can be a complete book review in and of itself. A book wasn't even worth finishing, so clearly there was something flawed with it in your opinion. I'm sure we wouldn't mind to have a list of "to avoids", just as much as we would want one of things to read Razz 
You do have a point. But it' might also be because I'm a little biased in my readings sometimes. I remember I couldn't finish Terry Brooks' Sword of Shannara series because I felt that it was too cliched. But to be fair to the author, he was one of the first to write in that genre and the book I read was older than me. But I suppose I can state down why I couldn't finish the book and let the others make their own judgement.

Veramonte wrote:
Oh, sorry... I thought everything shared in here is HQ Embarassed 
I found it shared in a forum, so I have no idea whether it is really a HQ or not.
The only way for me to determine a HQ novel from romance novel is to see the big 'Harlequin' sign in the cover Embarassed 
It's ok. To be fair, I don't think all the manga versions here are all from HQs anyway. Yes, that's a good way to tell if the story is from Harlequin or not Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:46 pm

There's something about Emmaline by Elizabeth Boyle

I'd been wanting to read this since I read the manga version (risou no tsuma no takurami wa) that was translated by shoujo crusade. (I think the links to the manga were shared in the "read harlequins by other scanlators" page). It did not disappoint. Alex was swept around by the whirlwind that was Emmaline and basically following her pace most of the time, except when he's trying to seduce her Wink I believe the courtship was about two weeks but you can forgive the author for it because the pace of the book was so well done that it didn't matter. There was lots of humor which made me laugh out loud several times and good solid emotion there too.

Emmaline is (I would consider) the prequel to the rest of the bachelor chronicles that consists of eight stories in total. I didn't do my usual review all at once because reviewing all eight at once would just confuse everyone Laughing but also because Emmaline is somewhat of a standalone. Alex and Emmaline don't reappear in any of the other stories except in name only. Also, the time gap between this story and the others is about 10 years.

Overall verdict: The story was smooth flowing without any strange gaps or plot holes and I enjoyed it immensely. There are some differences between the manga and the original novel but it doesn't affect the overall story. I'm still in awe of the translator as most of the lines came straight from the book. That takes dedication... Good book. Give it a try.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:08 pm

This rake of mine by Elizabeth Boyle

Book two of the bachelor chronicles. It involves Mad Jack Tremont, the good friend of Alexander Sedgewick and Miranda Mabberly, a woman Jack had accidentally ruined during Alex and Emmaline's courtship. However, their story takes place ten years later, when Miranda, thanks to the meddling of three of her students, ends up in Jacks home in the middle of a storm. Once there her students get into a number of high-jinks to stall their departure, to give Jack and Miranda a chance to realize what was always in their heart.

Mad Jack, who got his name from being a degenerate rake in his youth has to learn responsibility and maturity as he has been cut off by his brother, the Duke of Parkerton and shunned by society. Miranda, also grows up to be a more mature woman who can take care of herself (financially), thanks to the inheritance she receives. They both then fight the attraction they have for each other while protecting the secrets they hide.

Overall verdict: Romance, comedy, action, drama, and smut, this book has it all. I really enjoyed this story too. This one has a setting away from town and introduces the readers to three little trouble makers (who obviously get a story of their own) who brings the story together nicely. The pace of the story is about four to five days but again, the story is well written that we (I) don't really notice.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:33 pm

Books three, four and five of the Bachelor Chronicles in one go because they're somewhat related.

Love Letters from a Duke, Confessions of Little Black Gown and Memoirs of a Scandalous Red Dress by Elizabeth Boyle

Featuring the three unrepentant students of Miranda from This Rake of Mine. The reason why I separated them from book two is because of the timeline, which is about five years after Miranda's story.

Love Letters from a Duke
Who: Felicity Langley aka Duchess and Aubrey "Thatcher" Sterling
What: case of mistaken identity; Thatcher is mistaken for the new footman they hired.
What I liked: Felicity is desperate! She's trying to secure a future for herself, since her father's solicitor refuses to give them the money for a come out by going to London to try and see the Duke of Hollindrake. She's bossy and overbearing but underneath lies a heart of gold and a gift for pick-pocketing Wink Thatcher is uncomfortable in his role as the New Duke of Hollindrake. Being the third son of a third son, he never expected to be duke or wanted to either. But everytime he tries to set Felicity right; that he's not a footman, he can't. And, he just can't help wanting to get Felicity out of trouble. Humour and some adventure, with just a touch of emotions.
Smut: Yes
Rating: 4/5

Confessions of a Little Black Dress
Who: Thalia Langley aka Tally and Lord Larken
What: Larken has come disguised as Hollindrake's distant cousin, Milo Ryder, to search for a notorious escaped criminal at the house party of the Duke of Hollindrake.
What I liked: It's amazing that twins who go through the same set of experiences can have such different personalities. While all Felicity longs for is a place to call home, Tally wants adventures just like she used to have while traveling with her father. She guesses that Mr Milo Ryder is not who he says he is. There's plenty of action and intrigue as the girls, Felicity, Tally and Pip show us that they are definitely not of the wallflower stock.
Smut: yes
Rating: 4/5

Memoirs of a Scandalous Red Dress
Who: Lady Phillipa Knolles aka Pip and Captain Thomas "Dash" Dashwell
What: Star crossed lovers
What I liked: The story started the in This Rake of Mine. The story then proceeded in bits and pieces in Love letters from a Duke and Confessions of a Scandalous Black Dress then, more than twenty years later, they are given a chance to get together again. Dash shows weakness. He is a man who lost his one true love and broke down. Pip sacrificed the chance to be with him to save his neck but he starts off as ungrateful, blaming his current state on Pip because she left him. A little annoying that he couldn't pick up his own life back but at least it shows that he's human.
Smut: yes
Rating: 4/5

I tried a new style of reviewing as you can see, let me know if it's better or if the previous style was preferable. Thanks
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silvery
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:40 pm

(I have a few Allison Lane and a Mary Balogh to review so let's wrap this up)

The Standon Widows under the Bachelor Chronicles by Elizabeth Boyle

Before Thatcher became the Duke of Hollindrake, he was the Marquis of Standon. Before him came two uncles and two brothers, three of which were married. This is the story of what happened to his aunts and sister-in-law after that.

How I met my Countess
Who: Lucy Ellyson and The Earl of Clifton
This is another one of those fall in love, separate then meet again stories. But I liked how the story progressed. Lucy, who has been forced to live with the other two Marchionesses of Standon after they have been found to be causing too much trouble to Thatcher and Felicity. At first there were constant arguments but once the three ladies learned to get along, they became fast friends. Clifton is looking for the Marchioness of Standon, who may have a connection with his late brother Malcolm. Along the way he also wants to rekindle his romance with Lucy. A bit of adventure, a dash of humour and a whole lot of romance. What is there not to like about this book? Wink
Smut: Yes
Rating: 4/5

Mad about the Duke
Who: Elinor Sterling and James Tremont, The Duke of Parkerton.
If you're wondering why the name Parkerton sounds so familiar, that's because you've met him in This rake of Mine. I found this book to be a very funny read. James Tremont has always been the staid one, since his brother is the notorious "Mad" Jack Tremont. He's accidentally mistaken for a solicitor and asked for help by Elinor, who he just can't resist. Along the way he wonders if he is succumbing to the Tremont's curse of mad blood. It certainly appears so since he has been doing a whole lot of things out of his ordinary daily routine. And Elinor, who like Felicity is wondering what to do, since she's falling for her solicitor, instead of the duke she plans to marry. Enjoyable read.
Smut: yes
Rating: 4/5

Lord Langley is back in Town
Who: Minerva Sterling and Lord Langley
Lord Langley is Felicity and Thalia's father. He's back but his numerous paramours have heard of his return and are looking for him. With his back against the wall, he engages himself to Minerva Sterling, whose bedroom he happened to find himself in. Along the way, he wants to clear his name, and keep Minerva safe, from people who want him out of the way. Romance, action and humour, the story is a compelling read and enjoyable to the end.
Smut: yes
Rating: 4/5

I haven't stated it but I think most of you who follow my reviews know that I like a resourceful woman who can think on her feet and will not succumb to hysterics in a crisis unless it's an act to distract the enemy. All three are that sort of women. Also, the name of the whose series The Bachelor Chronicles is derived from the name of a journal Felicity keeps, which lists down the names of all the available bachelors, along with their habits, annual income, property and other relevant information. A matchmaking book, so to speak. I enjoyed all the books equally but if I had to pick a favourite, I think it'd be Mad about the Duke with There's something about Emmaline a close second.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Wed Oct 02, 2013 12:24 pm

The Arrangement by Mary Balogh
Book two of the Survivor's Club

Who: Sophia Fry and Vincent Hunt, Lord Darleigh.
What: Marriage of convenience. Summary and e-book can be downloaded here(pg 21)
Review: As was with The Proposal, the leads are not perfect. Vincent is blind, stifled by his over-protective family and prone to panic attacks. Sophia has always been ignored or considered useless and has confidence issues. But they try to make things better for each other. Sophia tries to give Vincent as much freedom as he can, within the confines of his sightlessness while Vincent tries and draw Sophia out of her unobtrusive corner and join the world, so to speak. As is a norm with the author's books, you'll meet characters from previous books, in this case, it's Hugo (The Proposal), Gwen (The Proposal, One night for love, A Summer to Remember) and Lily ( One Night for Love, A Summer to Remember) with a mention of Lizzie (Simply Perfect). It might feel confusing for those who have never read her previous books but for those who do, it's the occasional treat to see how everyone is doing. Highly enjoyable, I can't wait for the next installment Smile
Smut: yes
Rating: 4.5/5
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:20 pm

Mowed through a number of Allison Lanes from the bundle that aerysa shared, so I'll review those that I've read so far.

Kindred spirits
Who: Marianne Barnett and Colonel Jack Caldwell
What: (Summary from Regency reads)Marianne Barnett is virtually being held prisoner on her estate by her guardian, who has declared her a madwoman. Colonel Jack Caldwell discovers that she desperately needs his help, as she had once before. But Jack is facing his own demons--fearing a family legacy of cowardice and brutality after he has disappointed himself at Waterloo.
Review: Of all the stories that I've read so far, this one endeared itself to me the most. Both of them come with skeletons in the closet, real and imagined. Jack tries to bring Marianne out of her shell while Marianne tries to save Jack from his imagined dishonor. The characters are well developed and the chemistry between them is just right. I really recommend it.
Smut: No
Rating: 4.5/5

Allison Lane's Christmas Collection
What: A collection of three novellas; A second chance, Heart's Desire and The marriage stakes; that are centered around Christmas time.
Review: As novellas, I couldn't really sink my teeth into the stories, so to speak. They're shorter so can go for an easy, fast read. But you might feel dissatisfied at the length of the story and the short time span in which the leads meet and fall in love. No smut and I can say I like all equally, since they each have their own unique charm.
Rating: 4/5

A Clandestine Courtship
Who: Mary Northrup and James Underwood, the Earl of Ridgeway
What: (Summary by Regency Reads) James Underwood returned to England after the murder of his twin brother, the Earl of Ridgeway, and vowed to find the killer. Mary Northrup, now the widow of a baron, was James's former love, but she now appears to scorn and mistrust him--another legacy left by his brother. But James cannot pretend that his own feelings have changed.
Review: James' brother was a scoundrel. Having caused so much trouble to all and sundry before his death, James' return was not welcomed. A mystery on who killed James' brother and James trying to court Mary makes for an interesting read.
Smut: No
Rating: 4/5
Notes: There is a slight problem with the file, where there is no spacing between paragraphs and chapters. That makes it slightly difficult when you're scrolling but not a major problem if you ask me.

(I'll review the others next time, I guess)
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:42 pm

Just dropping in to say - holy moly! You've really been going at it, silvery! Shocked 

haha, good to see that my shares are being put to good use. I actually have more, but I've been really busy/tired lately and it requires a bit of work before I can do that. Mostly that they're not in my file of preference and that needs to be fixed! XD

I'll have to give Kindred Spirits a read, since you recommended that the most out of the other ones!

Oh, and just to add. I like the format you're using for the reviews. At least the added smut warning (for those who don't want to read any smut), and numerical rating.

Though... Lol, not sure how comfortable you would be with giving it a "heat rating", rather than just smut. Like yeah, there can be smut, but sometimes it's just a little, which someone might be okay with too. Whereas a heat rating would be like, "reallllly smutty" to "just a mini scene" sort of thing?

So like a "1" (out of 10) would be a short scene that isn't too explicit, whereas a higher rating would be for either more explicit and/or multiple smut scenes. Of course it's all subjective, but as a loose guideline.

Just a suggestion, since I have seen this kind of rating used before. Though I think those really high ratings end up for erotica titles more than romance ones. *shrugs* Could help? I've seen smut scenes where it was least expected.

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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:32 pm

I'm so interested in Kindred Spirits.....
Maybe I'll look it up Very Happy
Thanks silvery cheers 
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:22 pm

aerysa wrote:
Just dropping in to say - holy moly! You've really been going at it, silvery! Shocked 

haha, good to see that my shares are being put to good use. I actually have more, but I've been really busy/tired lately and it requires a bit of work before I can do that. Mostly that they're not in my file of preference and that needs to be fixed! XD

I'll have to give Kindred Spirits a read, since you recommended that the most out of the other ones!

Oh, and just to add. I like the format you're using for the reviews. At least the added smut warning (for those who don't want to read any smut), and numerical rating.

Though... Lol, not sure how comfortable you would be with giving it a "heat rating", rather than just smut. Like yeah, there can be smut, but sometimes it's just a little, which someone might be okay with too. Whereas a heat rating would be like, "reallllly smutty" to "just a mini scene" sort of thing?

So like a "1" (out of 10) would be a short scene that isn't too explicit, whereas a higher rating would be for either more explicit and/or multiple smut scenes. Of course it's all subjective, but as a loose guideline.

Just a suggestion, since I have seen this kind of rating used before. Though I think those really high ratings end up for erotica titles more than romance ones. *shrugs* Could help? I've seen smut scenes where it was least expected.
Haha, yeah, I've had a bit of free time recently. Besides that, I'm a very fast reader.
Well, I do like the idea of a heat rating, since I came across some slightly explicit scenes and was wondering how to explain them...

I appreciate the shares, so the least I can do is read and recommend them Wink

Veramonte wrote:
I'm so interested in Kindred Spirits.....
Maybe I'll look it up Very Happy 
Thanks silvery cheers 
you're welcome. It's nice that the stories I read and recommend are appreciated.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:11 pm

(here come more Allison Lanes Smile )

The Earl's Revenge
Who: Elaine Thompson and Mark Allan Parrish, The Earl of Bridgeport
What: (Summary from Regency Reads)
The Earl of Bridgeport plots the perfect revenge for Elaine Thompson, the insignificant chit who left him standing at the altar, tarnishing his reputation. But Elaine doesn't cooperate, instead initiating a battle of wits that threatens to destroy them both. Will she discover his deepest secret, or will he uncover hers?
Review: It was a good read. Mark and Elaine actually complement each other when they called for a truce. It was easy to understand and sympathize with Elaine, who jilted Mark. Mark continues to redeem himself as the story progresses; I hadn't really liked him at first. The supporting characters also keep the plot and pace enjoyable.
Sizzle meter: 0 (no smut but some kissing)
Ratings: 4/5
Notes: There are some slight problems with the prologue, in which part of the ending is inadvertently mixed in. The rest of the chapters after that are ok.

The Notorious Widow
Who: Cathrine Seabrook Parrish and Blake Townsend, The Earl of Rockhurst
What: (Summary from Regency Reads)
Widow Catherine Parrish knows that redeeming her reputation is impossible, since a powerful neighbor is depicting her as the greatest sinner of all time. But her brother insists the Earl of Rockhurst investigate the rumors swirling around his sister, and the earl doesn't realize she is the same woman he insulted only the day before.
Review: This is the first book to the Seabrook Trilogy, the second being The Rake and the Wallflower. If you loved Mary, hated (or was really annoyed with) Laura, and wanted to know how Cathrine and Blake met, this is the one. Since a majority of us read the second before the first, it might be a little spoilerish, but it is in it's own right still a very good read. Humorous at times but still sweet with a touch of drama. Good read all the way. It even made me reread the second book again Wink (Sadly, book three of the The Seabrook trilogies: The Purloined Papers was not included in the bundle)
Sizzle meter: 1-2 (no smut but some of the prose may get a little warm. kissing too)
Rating: 4/5

The Rake's Rainbow
Who: Caroline Cummings and Thomas Mannering
What: (Summary from Regency Reads)
Caroline Cummings, a talented vicar's daughter, is inadvertently compromised by Thomas Mannering, rake and second son of an earl. They are forced to marry, though Thomas is obsessed with a now-married London beauty. While Caroline works to understand her tormented husband and build a life with him, he struggles to maintain his honor and their social position in Regency society.
Review: I just finished this recently and I loved it. As the Thomas said to Caroline: "I've been a fool, chasing rainbows all the time when I already held the pot of gold" A blind besotted fool who wakes up to realize that he had already married the one true love of his. Another strongly recommended one. Smile
Sizzle meter: 2-3 (yes some smut, but I would liken it to a scene of intertwining hands in a Josei manga Wink )
Ratings: 4.5/5

The Second Lady Emily
Who: Cherlynn Cardington and Andrew Villiers, the Marquis of Broadbanks
What: (Summary from Regency Reads) Did modern-day Cherlynn Cardington understand the gravity of the Gypsy Curse when she claimed her new title of Marchioness of Broadbanks? Visiting an historic estate, she wakens to find herself a Regency lady, never married to her intended, the Marquess of Broadbanks. She is determined to see the couple joined and end the curse that brought tragedy for generations.
Review: This is a semi-paranormal, semi-regency romance. Cherlynn is from 1998 and is sent back to 1812 to solve a mystery and break a curse. Of course, being a modern day woman, she is nothing like the shy, biddable misses of the regency era. Since I'm not a fan of paranormal romances, I will say that I enjoyed it and that the author made a good job of marrying the two to make it a believable, likeable story. Also recommended.
Sizzle meter: 2-3 (some smut but barely noticeable)
Ratings: 4.5/5

And that is all of the Allison Lanes shared Very Happy I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Now to look for another author to binge read... Laughing 

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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:24 pm

haha, loving the "Sizzle meter" - it's perfect. It gives you some room to elaborate on the "smut-no smut" thing, cuz I know some can be reaaally steamy.

Looks like I'll have to get to work on those other shares though XD You're just plowing through everything!

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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:40 pm

After more than a month of hectic craziness, I finally found some time to read again! :)so here's a review from the Loretta Chase bundle shared.

The Sandalwood Princess
Who: Amanda Cavencourt and Phillip Astonley, The Falcon
What: (summary from Loretta Chase's site)
Determined to uncover who stole her sandalwood statue, Amanda Cavencourt is shocked to learn the culprit is a notorious rogue known as the Falcon. Why would a man renowned for his dangerous and delicate missions indulge in petty thievery? Intrigued by the mystery—and rumors of the Falcon's devilish charm and good looks—Amanda sets out on the trail of the brazen blackguard. But what she stumbles upon is a man who just may be her perfect match....
Review: This was one of the books where the scene was not set amongst the ton. A portion of it was in Calcutta, India, another part of it was on a ship sailing back to England and the last portion was in Yorkshire. There were also very few supporting characters, give or take ten of them. This means more interaction between the leads and that makes it believable. Another thing I rather liked was the amount of time it took for the leads to know each other and fall in love; the story took about one and a half year from start to finish. Definitely a change from those fall in love and marry within a week kind of stories ;)Amanda is intelligent, kind but a little too trusting, a fact that has Phillip pulling his hair (not literally) in exasperation over. Phillip is a little too prideful but resourceful and more than a match for Amanda intellectually. An enjoyable read.
Sizzle meter: 1 the kisses were a little smouldering but there was no smut
Ratings: 4/5
Notes: There were some spelling errors and some annoyances with the paragraph spacings but nothing that will actually get in the way of the story.

P.S. This one goes out to Veramonte for wondering where I'd been and when I'll be back. It's nice to know you're appreciated Very Happy
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