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

First topic message reminder :

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   Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:15 pm

aerysa wrote:


That said - which one is your fave book from the series silvery? I'll read them in order when I get around to it, but based on the summaries, I definitely feel like I'll enjoy some more than the others... haha!

That's a given... Let me see, I liked : 4, 5, 1, 2, 7, 3, 8, 6 if I recollect properly. While I loved them all, in their own right, it felt that there was less interaction between the Bridgertons in the ones that I placed at the back. Yes, she was very meticulous in her timelines and you'll find that even more when you read the Smythe-Smith Quartet... and I respect her for that... but still, enjoy!
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Sun Mar 29, 2015 9:46 am

(Replies to quoted stuff is so weird with this new layout... I can't even read it cuz it's half chopped off =__=;; )

Anyways! YAY! That makes me really excited cuz based on the summaries, I was definitely thinking Book 4 and 5 would be really fun~ So I'm happy to see it's in your top! I just really like the premise for Colin's book - him being gone for a while, only to find the girl he thought would always be the same has totally changed. And the whole letter thing (and mistaken assumptions) between Eloise and Phillip sounds like it would make for some fun(ny) interactions.

Time to load some more books onto my kindle! ^_~

BTW, would you say you should read the series in order - like Bridgerton and then Smythe-Smith, or it doesn't really matter? Just curious!

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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Sat Apr 18, 2015 2:05 am

aerysa wrote:

BTW, would you say you should read the series in order - like Bridgerton and then Smythe-Smith, or it doesn't really matter? Just curious!

Hmmm, I thought I'd replied to this but it turns out I didn't... Embarassed

Anyway, I would say that you don't really have to read in order, but as Julia Quinn tends to "recycle" her characters, it might be a good idea to do so... It's more so with the Smythe-Smith than with the Bridgertons, because while the Bridgertons were more or less stand-alones, the Smythe-Smith story was triggered by an incident so all subsequent stories are following the said incident. But this is more so that you don't spoiler yourself than anything else. After you know what happens, why shouldn't you read in any which way you like?

Enjoy~~
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Sat Apr 18, 2015 3:12 am

I've been reading! And they're contemporary romances too! There were stories in a bundle shared by plchat...

The Sister Brides by Lynne Graham

An Arabian Marriage

Summary: (All summaries taken from Lynnegraham.com) Frederica Sutton was living happily with toddler Ben, the son of her deceased cousin. The minute that Jaspar Al Hasayn stalks into her apartment all smoldering gorgeousness and arrogance her happy world is blown apart when she discovers that Ben is part of the Quamar royal lineage, a prince's son and she could lose him forever. When Jaspar's family decides to take matters into their own hands and kidnaps Ben, Freddy is heartbroken and furious. If getting Ben back means black mailing Jaspar into marrying her, then so be it! As much as Freddy hates her cool-mannered new husband, there's something about his feral golden eyes and she finds herself returning to his bed, night after ravenous night. Freddy's not just sleeping with the enemy she's married to him.

Review: As I'm going to review all four books in the series, I won't be using my usual format... This book was published in 2002 so I suppose it's a slightly older contemporary... All I can say is that these are not my usual kind of characters... Freddy, while caring and somewhat impulsive, seems a bit more subservient than I would like to see in my heroines... She has that "I don't think I'm beautiful so I'm not special" kind of thinking which while common in HQ novels, still kind of irks me. Jaspar on the other hand was the usual (as Swedesamurai likes to put it) Alpha male... Handsome, suave, rich, capable... in short, a mismatch in my mind. Anyway, the courtship happens after the marriage, of course and they inevitably find their happy ever after. This is a novella sort of book, so the pdf was about a hundred or so pages.

Ratings: 3.5/5 (I guess I really am a feminist... while Freddy does have a backbone, she still behaves like a babbling idiot in front of Jaspar which makes me want to roll my eyes or shake her. But over all, while it could have been better, it wasn't that bad. Half point take off because I hated Freddy's attitude)

Sizzle Meter: 4-5 (there was smut, of course but I don't think it was that much or excessive...)

The Disobedient Mistress

Summary: Caterer Misty Carlton is in serious trouble. Her business is on the rocks and the only man who can save her is Leone Andracchi an arrogant, infuriating and temptingly hot Sicilian tycoon. Leone knows exactly how precarious Misty's situation is and he's about to take advantage of it. He offers her a deal that seems deceptively easy. Misty plays obedient mistress to Leone strictly hands off, of course, and only for the sake of the public eye. In return for keeping up the charade, Misty gets a sizable chunk of cash and gets to keep her business. What Misty doesn't know is that she's part of a revenge scheme, aimed at discrediting her biological father. The hands-off factor is becoming a problem because every time Misty and Leone begin arguing heatedly, their bodies and lips take over. Sure, it makes for great press but how can Misty lust for someone she so thoroughly despises?

Review: This one was much better. Misty is a more fiery personality than Freddy so yes, more sparks fly. Leone might look different but he and Jaspar are cut from the same cloth. So when he thinks he can control Misty with money, he's dead wrong. Throw in a misunderstanding or two, a bit of jealousy and a pinch of revenge, you have a typical "you're not who I thought you were" and "I can't believe you used me for revenge" story. There was some humour in this one which I liked and then the standard happy ending and this is nice way to while your time as you wait for the bus/train/other public transport available.

Ratings: 3.75/5 (Better than the first and I liked the bit of humour but I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Leone's thoughts instead of just in the first chapter)

Sizzle Meter: 4 (less smut than the first, but still enough for the ones who are not comfortable with it to feel it excessive, I think)

The Heiress Bride

Summary: Business tycoon and infamous playboy Alexio Christoulakis wasn't the marrying kind. Then one of the most powerful and wealthy men in Greece offers Alexio his daughter's hand in marriage, and Alexio decides that maybe a wife especially one as compelling as Ione Gakis might not be a bad idea after all. Unbeknownst to anyone outside of the Gakis family, Ione was adopted and has been fostered in an abusive and neglectful environment a desperate prisoner on her tyrannical father's luxurious island. Marriage to Alexio can mean only one thing: escape. And if that means marrying a complete stranger and fleeing to England to find her real family, then the sooner Ione can get that wedding ring on her finger, the better. But despite his compassion for Ione, Alexio won't tolerate a runaway wife. And he's going to make damn sure Ione never leaves his side or his bed!

Review: This one was also getting good... Ione is the sheltered little rich girl and all she wants to do is find her real family. And she also triggers Alexio's urge to protect her. So while Alexio tries to be the understanding, caring husband, Ione is the naive, emotional creature that doesn't seem to know how to communicate with her husband. I wanted to shake Ione as much as I wanted to shake Freddy but I had to make allowances for her age and also the fact that she has led the sheltered lifestyle where the only examples she has had has been bad. Well, abandonment and neglect always has a price...

Ratings: 3.75/5 (There's an impulsive streak in these sisters... but I suppose they can't all be too helpless... I liked how Ione had learned to hide her weaknesses but I wished she wasn't so naive...)

Sizzle Meter: 4-5 (Same as the above, I guess)

Dark Angel

Summary: International business tycoon Luciano da Valenza stepped in to save the Linwood family's failing wine business and swept the young, impressionable Kerry Linwood off her feet. Yet Kerry feared Luciano didn't want her, but the wine empire she would inherit. Then money was embezzled from the business, and there was evidence enough to put Luciano in prison. Five years later, Luciano was back and out to clear his name. He was certain that he'd been framed by the Linwoods and he was planning to take everything that was theirs - beginning with Kerry. He had always loved her, and now he was more determined than ever to have her....

Review: Misunderstanding is the main plot of the story, I guess. And lack of trust. Kerry is almost as naive as Ione but while I don't fault Ione, I find that Kerry really should have checked her facts. As with Freddy, she has an inferiority complex that was developed due to a lifetime of being the less favoured one in the family. I really feel that both characters were carrying a lot of emotional baggage and nobody wanted to talk about it...

Ratings: 3.5/5 (too much emotional baggage that nobody wanted to talk about...)

Sizzle Meter: 5-6 (... they appear to think that skinship was the way to solve problems...)

Overall I would give the whole series maybe a 4/5... but since this is a HQ novel I suppose they have a limit to how many pages it can have. I believe with the right elaboration, it could have been better but if you want a bit of fluff while waiting or something, this series is not bad. Oh, I forgot! I actually shed a tear for Ione's story so yes, it is good enough.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Sat Apr 18, 2015 7:47 am

Woohoo silvery~ Kudos to you for getting through an entire HQ series... haha, cuz really... I have no patience for them. They really are the same type of cookie cutter stories with different names/faces. And yeah, I'm like you - can't stand those naive, innocent heroines who always have the inferiority complex because they're the maid/housekeeper/shop keeper to his business tycoon/prince/billionaire. Yuck. While I like a guy with confidence, NOT to the point where he tramples over the girl and feels "entitled" to her feelings. No. Thank. You.

Glad to see someone else has been reading~ I have been too! Although sufferingly slowly... Just getting bits in here and there.

More Than a Stranger by Erin Knightley
(Book 1 of Sealed by a Kiss series)

Summary: AN UNCOVERED BETRAYAL
When his family abandoned him at Eton , Benedict Hastings found an unexpected ally in his best friend's sister. Her letters kept him going--until the day he had to leave everything behind. Years later, Benedict has seen his share of betrayal, but when treachery hits close to home, he turns to his old friend for safe haven....

AN UNWANTED ATTRACTION
After five torturous years on the marriage circuit, Lady Evelyn Moore is finally free to live her life as she wishes. So when her brother shows up with a dashing stranger, she finds herself torn between her dreams...and newfound desires.

AN UNSTOPPABLE INTRIGUE
Despite his determination to keep Evie at a distance, Benedict cannot deny the attraction that began with a secret correspondence. Yet as they begin to discover one another, the dangers of Benedict's world find them, threatening their lives, their love, and everything they thought they could never have...


Review
Benedict and Evie "met" many years ago via letters as she was annoyed by the fact that her brother's letters would constantly praise this "Benedict Hastings" he had befriended. He was off in school and she eagerly awaited his responses, only to hear about HIM. Finally taking matters into her own hand, she angrily penned a note to said Benedict to tell him his rightful place - while he was a friend, he could not possibly be her brother's best friend, because that was her place.

As the years go by, they eventually become friends - until that fateful day where Benedict is forced to make a difficult decision and break things off with her. His new path in life upon graduation would not allow him to foster these ties he had.

Fast forward to the present, and Benedict finds himself in a difficult situation. Not sure where to turn to, he approaches his old friend, Richard and the two decide to head to Richard's family home in the country. Unbeknownst to them, his family is still in residence. Upon meeting the lovely Evie face to face for the first time, Benedict is ashamed and quickly assumes an alternate persona to cover up the fact - otherwise, they would get into a big bumblebroth. Richard willingly goes along with it after some explaining was done.

Evie was determined to never marry since she had her heart broken into a thousand pieces while she was still a naive youth, and was trying to convince her mother that she should sit out the Season. In sweeps her brother, along with this deliciously handsome man who triggers a sense of curiosity like no other.

Knowing he shouldn't be there, Benedict does everything he can to stay out of her way, but Evie isn't the type of woman to take 'no' for an answer. If she has something she wants, she will do whatever it takes to make that happen.

Needless to say, the two are attracted to each other, all the while that Benedict knows full well who she is and she has not a clue that he was her former pen pal. Alas~ All secrets come to light, include his true identity and the danger that Benedict was facing - danger that he has brought to his friend's house and family.

I think after a while, you get a feel for who Benedict is (in terms of occupation), but you don't quite know what he is facing until later parts of the story. For the beginning parts, you just get to enjoy the interactions between the hero and heroine as they both face their inner turmoils.

Benedict was a broken and hurting man due to issues from the past, and the life choices he had made. But overall, he knew what was right and did everything he could to stand on that path. Because of their previous interactions, there was a lot of moments where things "clicked" between Evie and him. On the other hand, Evie was truly an independent kind of woman who knew what she wanted, but had to face her "dragons" (aka her mother, to get permission). She wasn't afraid to speak her mind, even as a little girl, and even more so as an adult. In one instance where she still didn't know who he is, she snaps at something he said while at the dinner table, calling him a moron (or idiot). Not EXACTLY proper lady-like manners... LOL~

Since it's a series, you also get glimpses into the personalities of the other siblings of the family - Richard, the oldest and only son of the family (Book 2), Beatrice, the middle child (of five; Book 3) and Carolyn/Jocelyn, the youngest (I can't remember if they're twins or not).

The secrets that you know about, and also don't know about, definitely kept me reading! I could guess what type of work Benedict did, but I couldn't figure out why he would struggle with the things that he struggled with... So that was one aspect that kept me reading, along with wanting to know how things would pan out after Evie found out who he really is.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
I really liked it, but I can't say it was a book that kept me riveted the entire time. I blame that on the fact that I was reading off my phone... Lol, it's hard to read for long staring at that tiny screen!

Sizzle Meter: 2
There's a kiss or a couple kisses? The author distinctly states that she writes "PG". Nothing to get scared about in the smut department~

**********

Miss Mistletoe by Erin Knightley
(Book 1.5 - novella - of Sealed by a Kiss series)

Summary: A Lord's fortune is forever changed with a kiss on Christmas from a daring young woman...

Finn, Viscount Edgerton, has avoided the London scene to focus solely on digging out from under the pile of debt his father left behind. A decent dowry could make things a hell of a lot easier for the estate, but he hasn't met the right woman. And he never would have expected her to come in the form of "Miss Mistletoe"--the young woman who stole a kiss at a ball in front of the "ton" and caused a scandal. On the eve of her cousin's wedding, Cece McCrea hardly expects to run into the man who inspired her indiscretion five years ago. This time, she resolves to put aside her childish crush and avoid him altogether. Her will is tested, however, when he pursues her...


Review
This story takes place after Book 1, as it's part of the events leading up to Evie and Benedict's marriage.

Finn, a friend of both Richard and Benedict, is invited to the wedding and finds he enjoys the camaraderie that he had missed - being too busy after inheriting his father's title AND the pile of debt that went along with it. It was a nice change. As the friends rekindle their friendship, Richard and Benedict give Finn a tough time - that he will be hounded by eligible misses, now that he had a fancy title. Though Finn has a good jab at Richard, saying that he wasn't as enticing as an earl, who would eventually inherit the marquis title, Richard leaves him with a final blow by informing him that there was at least one woman who would be there, who would not be interested in him - "Miss Mistletoe".

Miss Mistletoe aka Cece McCrea is Evie and Richard's cousin. Once upon a time, she had the biggest crush on her cousin's friend - Finn. She had liked him for years as he would play with them in the summer while they were on break from school. Finally, it came time for him to graduate and she made a life-changing choice to step up to bat, and make him notice her as a young lady, and NOT the kid cousin of his friend.

Needless to say, her actions of that time were the mistake of a lifetime, bringing scandal down on her head (and his). When she was faced with the knowledge that Finn had made a reappearance into her life, she does her best to block out all the memories of that time and truly cut him from her life. Rather than throwing herself at him like Finn had been worried she would, it turns out that Miss Cece would rather have nothing to do with him - at all.

The contrast between Cece's attitude and that of all the other eligible misses ends up sparking his attention, more than he thought it would. As a result, he has a good laugh that the tables have turned from when they last met 5 years ago.

The story has that typical "little girl grown up" plot line to it, but I really liked both characters. It wasn't like Finn hated her, but rather the opposite. He had liked her as she was - the shy, intelligent girl - only to realize that he had selfishly been focused on his own pain from the scandal, not realizing that she might have gone through equally tough times because of it. As a result, he mans up and decides they should remedy their last memory by creating better ones.

Cece struggles with the fact that she still finds herself attracted to the man, despite the fact that there is somewhat bad blood between them. On top of that, she finds herself in a predicament because of her home situation.

But if nothing else, Finn is a man who knows what he wants and is nothing short of patient at finding a way to get what he wants!

Rating: 4 out of 5
It's a novella... So yeah~ But as characters, both are truly likeable, and you can't help rooting for them to find their happy ending!

Sizzle Meter: 2
There's one steamy-ish kiss, and maybe some "kisses" in the story. Nothing to get all irked about.

**********

Currently reading through Book 2 - A Taste for Scandal - Richard's story, so I'll come back with a review when I finish that! ^^ Also, I don't think I shared these, so I'll do that next time~

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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:23 pm

I feel like I've read the summary to More Than a Stranger before but I can't remember where or if I'd bought that book. It sounds like a really interesting read. I do know that I went to a book sale about a month ago and bought some romance novels for less than 1 USD each. Expect reviews of them when I actually sit down and finish a book... Rolling Eyes
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Mon Apr 20, 2015 2:11 pm

Oh sweet~ That would be a really good deal since books are expensive nowadays ~_~;; If you have it, I highly recommend it! It would definitely be much smoother of a read as an actual book versus the pages squished onto a tiny phone screen Razz

The series reminds me of a smaller Bridgerton series since there are less siblings XD But they have very good family dynamics and it's definitely a loving family in the same way. I'm most interested in Book 3 since Beatrice was an interesting character in Book 1 with her various quirks... Lol, but also easy to see that she had great affection for both her older brother and older sister. She's playing a small role in Book 2 as well, but hard to say since I'm not that far into it yet.

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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Tue Jul 07, 2015 9:53 pm

Thanks to the heartfelt plea by aerysa, as well as her generous shares, I'm back to review another favourite author...

Spring Bride by Anne Gracie
(book 3 of the Chance Sisters)

Who: Miss Jane Chance and Zachary Black

Summary: (taken from annegracie.com) On the eve of the London Season, Jane Chance is about to make her entrance into high society. Haunted by a childhood riddled with poverty and hardship, Jane is determined her own children will never suffer the same; she intends to make a good, safe, sensible marriage. All goes according to plan until a dark, dangerous vagabond helps her rescue a dog.

Zachary Black is all kinds of unsuitable—a former spy, now in disguise, he's wanted for murder. His instructions: to lie low until his name is cleared. But Zach has never followed the rules, and he wants Jane Chance for his own.

If that means blazing his way into London society, in whatever guise suits him, that's what he'll do. Jane knows she shouldn’t fall in love with this unreliable, if devastatingly attractive, rogue. But Zach is determined—and he's a man accustomed to getting what he wants.


Review: It had been so long between stories that I'd nearly forgotten about it! That and the fact that I've been so very busy... anyway, on to the review!

Between Jane and Abby, Abby was the one who believed in true love while Jane was the one who understood that love would not keep you warm and sheltered. So when she meets Zachary Black, her world is shaken and she has to choose between security and love. She decides that security would be better than what her parents chose, but as she gets to know both Zachary and her betrothed, she feels herself wavering.

As for Zachary himself, he has spent too many years abroad, living a somewhat carefree if not risk free life of being a spy. When he realizes that the one woman that he would like to spend the rest of his life with is engaged to another man, he tries to get her to see reason, that she would not be happy with her betrothed. She proceeds to rip him over her choice and point out that she is doing what she believes is the practical choice, not only for herself but her future children, which of course, opens his eyes.

Over all, this is a rather balanced story, where both the leads have unhappy pasts but learned to overcome them and become stronger for it. Zachary admires Jane for her tender heart and the way she she doesn't back down from a dirty job that needs doing. Jane finds him intriguing but she feels that she can't have a future with him (he can't say who he is so he let her make her own assumptions) and tries her best to be sensible. There wasn't much action, but the humour and emotions there were finely written and made me want to know more.

Ratings: 4/5 (I just wish it'd go on and on and on Wink )

Sizzle meter: 4 (there was only one bedroom scene, which I felt was merely obligatory than anything)

Loved it, will die while I wait for the last book, along with Julia Quinn's Because of Miss Bridgerton (yes, I found out, now to hold out until next year Laughing )
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:46 pm

Woohoo! It worked!! ^_^ I know you weren't exactly thrilled about the latest batches of HQ shares. Honestly, I was a little out of the book world loop myself, until I hit up a local bookstore and was reminded of all the things I needed to check up on~

But your sizzle meter comment... I know what you mean. That sort of thing makes me sad. There are so many good books that I've read that had zero to little physical contact and they were still so wonderful. I hate how nowadays romance novels have become synonymous with sex-riddled writing. Not always the truth, but pretty much true in 95% of the cases.

I'm not saying sex in a book is bad or anything like that, but I just don't like how it's this "requirement" nowadays. If it helps the flow of the story along, like fine... But to have a scene "just because" is pretty... UGH. Whatever the case, happy to see you back! (Even if for a bit Razz I only pop in and out to see if there are any new book requests really... hehe~)

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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Thu Aug 20, 2015 2:26 pm

It's so quiet! There hasn't been any updates at all here... Not that I'm helping - until now! I finally felt like reading, and finished what I started Smile

I signed up for some site that updates me every day regarding book bargains (through Amazon) and I've been stalking the literary world through them. If I see any that sound interesting, I try to hunt them down. This book that I'm going to review is one of them.

Penelope by Anya Wylde
(Book 1 of Fairweather Sisters series)

Summary: Leaving behind the rural charms of Finnshire, Miss Penelope Fairweather arrives in London with hope in her heart and a dream in her eye. The dowager, no less, has invited her for a season in London, where she will attempt to catch a husband. Thus begins our heroine's tale as she attempts to tackle the London season with all her rustic finesse. Unfortunately, her rustic finesse turns out to be as delicate as a fat bear trying to rip apart a honeycomb infested with buzzing bees. What follows is a series of misadventures, love affairs, moonlit balls, fancy clothes, fake moustaches, highwaymen, sneering beauties, pickpockets, and the wrath of a devilishly handsome duke.

Review
This is my first time reading anything by this author and she seems relatively new? Anyways, the whole thing is a romantic comedy, so I thought I'd give the book a shot.

Right off the bat, she had me giggling at some of the scenes. Miss Pea is the type of girl who doesn't know anything about London society or its social rules. She has a terrible habit of babbling about anything and everything when she's nervous which is the sort of thing that she does when she first descends upon the duke's household.

The first meeting between our hero and heroine is hilarious, as she was regaling the female household members about the adventure she had on her way to said household, only to require a "male ear" to prove a point. Not noticing, she quickly grabs onto the duke's ear (not knowing it was the duke) as she makes her point to his sister and mother. Literally, making him bend over... haha! That was in the first chapter or two.

The two end up having a terrible relationship as the duke is convinced she's a conniving woman, come to spread chaos and madness - something he does NOT want in his house. Unfortunately for him, the rest of his family has warmed up to her tremendously, even standing up for her.

Needless to say, a lot of chaos continues to follow throughout the story as Penny is every bit as clumsy as the summary suggests.

The characters were really fun to follow, but my only complaint is that the transition of their relationship seemed rather... abrupt? The story was mainly from Penny's point of view (describing every situation around her), and not so much on the others. I would have liked to see more of the duke's interactions apart from her. You never got to see into his head, so it was hard to see how things shifted for him.

Also, the writing itself was okay, but relatively simplistic? I don't know how to put it. It definitely didn't have the detailing that I associate with some of the other authors that we like.

Given the antics of the heroine, it reminded me a lot of Barbara Metzger's An Affair of Interest, which was shared a long while back. Just not as well written, but equally funny! That said, I fully plan on reading book 2 of the series which deals with one of Penny's sisters. I read a blurb of it which was included at the end of book 1 and definitely sounds interesting! (Pirates and all... XD)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
For a romantic comedy, I definitely recommend it. It could have been better written in some aspects, but it definitely had me hooked and giggling away. If it weren't for the necessity of sleep, I wouldn't have put it down.

Sizzle Meter: 1
There's just a few kisses here and there, and nothing to feel frightened over.

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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Thu Aug 20, 2015 4:17 pm

Yay, a review! that sounds like a very interesting book (I do prefer romantic comedies to any other romance type...) I have been reading, but I haven't been finishing anything! Embarassed I hope to finish something and post a review soon... Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Sun Aug 23, 2015 1:36 pm

Lol, I know how you feel! After the review I did a while back, I didn't even finish that book I said I was reading... ^^;; But back with another one to review the second book in the series! BTW, just shared what I could find of the author in the other thread ^_~

Seeking Philbert Woodbead by Anya Wylde
(Book 2 of Fairweather Sisters series)

Summary: Miss Celine Fairweather’s life was bobbing along like a boat on a tranquil stream when a summons from her beloved sister Penelope Radclyff, the Duchess of Blackthorne, changed it all. Celine hurtles off to the London to help the duchess run the Blackthorne Mansion and to discover the whereabouts of her lost love Philbert Woodbead. Celine manages to keep things deathly dull and under control for a whole week until she enlists the help of the handsome Lord Elmer—a mischievous rogue, an ex-pirate, and an incorrigible flirt who is wanted dead by all of England’s husbands with attractive wives. They scurry from one giddy escapade to another seeking Philbert in musty inns and dusty streets, and through it all Celine tries to keep her bonnet straight, her gloves spotless and her heart in tune with her head. Life has suddenly turned exciting, and love has well and truly bitten her rosy buttocks. Now the only question is … who has done the biting?

Review
Being book 2 of the series, I liked this one more than the first one. Mainly because Penny and the duke play a role in the whole story, which was just so funny. By the time this book happens, Penny is pregnant and expecting their first child. Because of her condition, she is in no shape to run the large Blackthorne Mansion and Celine is summoned to help.

Celine is your stereotypical prim miss who is doing everything she can to live the life of a proper English lady. She is serious in every aspect and handles everything calmly and collectedly. She is doing a good job of running the household in her sister's place, until an unsuspecting passed out drunk of a lord was deposited within the mansion - Lord Elmer, who happens to be a distant cousin of the duke's.

To counter Celine's properness, Lord Elmer is her complete opposite as a gentleman who was NOT anything like a proper gentleman should be. He was a flirt, loved to play pranks and just did whatever suited his fancy. Not only that, but he was in hiding AND he was bored out of his mind. Given the circumstances, the target of his attention becomes Celine, who really would rather have nothing to do with the man... Except for the fact that he came to learn of her deepest secret. While she was helping her sister run the household, she was also trying to find the whereabouts of her lost lover - a fact that would ruin her if normal society should know about it.

Needless to say, Lord Elmer wheedles his way into her plans and offers to help. Hence, the two scamper around London in search of her Philly.

All the while... Pirates are after Lord Elmer and want to murder the man for the horrendous, horrendous crime he has commited... And the two end up in a bunch of mishaps as they try to find Celine's Philly, protect their lives AND arrive at the dinner table on time as the duke's grandfather is a stickler for time.

The idea was just so amusing and there were so many scenes which had me giggling away. Like the first book though, the writing is totally skewed to only show Celine's perspective. You get a good feel for George (Lord Elmer) through her eyes, but I always like to see things from both sides - even if it's just a small snippet into his mindset.

Oh, and almost forgot to mention another character - Dorothy, Penny and Celine's younger sister... She didn't show up too much, but some of her scenes were just... haha~ I'm not sure what the author is planning, but I would love to see a story for her!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Writing was still a little off for me, along with the one-sided view already mentioned. Also, the epilogue was really disappointing... I rather it didn't even exist, it was so short. But overall, really funny and entertaining!

Sizzle Meter: 1
Just another few kisses here and there.

*****

Next goal - The Wicked Wager. The only other book I could find from this author~ So far she's kept me well entertained Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Thu Aug 27, 2015 3:05 pm

Back with more! I've been in a reading mood since I'm getting bored of the games I normally play... Lol~ I got side tracked from the book I was originally going to read when I found this little jem~

Best Laid Schemes by Emma Jensen

Summary: "Girls grow into ladies, dearest. It happens all the time."

"That is not a lady, madam. That is Sibyl Cameron."

So says Tarquin Rome, a rather stiff, superbly handsome earl who has been harassed by this irrepressible, mishap-prone chit since boyhood. Why then would his mother invite Sibyl to his artfully planned house party?

Why, indeed. The lofty earl is hardly likely to notice that the beautiful Sibyl is no longer in pinafores and pigtails - especially since he has invited three Incomparables from which he will choose his bride. But when embarrassing and awkward moments transpire at his gathering, Tarquin can only blame Sibyl. Which hardly explains his increasing desire for her company - and her affection ....


Review
I first read this when it came out back in 1998, and all I can say is that I adore this book! It's a romantic comedy if you couldn't already guess by the summary, which is just utterly charming.

Poor Sibyl Cameron fell in love with the top-lofty Tarquin Rome at a young age, and has since been trying everything she could do to capture his attention. It didn't help that she was the "ugly duckling" of the Scottish Cameron family which was renowned for its foray into Romance and Adventure; both of which Sibyl had no skill for (being too practical and pragmatic). All her attempts end up as awkward moments where Tarquin usually finds himself injured - either bodily or pride-wise. All of this, over their 15 years of knowing each other.

Needless to say, Tarquin was not excited at the prospect of having Sibyl visit, though she was invited to his little house party by his mother, who was good friends with Sibyl's aunt - Lady Leverham. She on the other hand is well versed in Romance, commonly finding herself in the midst of reliving Camelot days, where "men were manly men!", and Adventure where she finds the need to poke around (aka explore, even in other people's houses). Did I also mention that Lady Leverham also has a pet monkey, named Sir Galahad? LOL~

Unfortunately for Tarquin, Galahad is an avid admirer of his, namely of his coat linings, and watch fobs, etc. Because of such, he prefers to attach himself to the man whenever he is given the opportunity, much to the frustration of the earl who is trying to engage in the most important aspect of his future!

There are other characters to add to the mix, like Tarquin's family (brother and mother), his friend, the family retainers, and of course, the potential brides plus their respective families. Over the course of a fortnight, a lot of hijinks ensue... Much to Tarquin's chagrin, as he only wanted to pick out a bride!

I don't want to say too much more because there are so many funny scenes, it would take forever - and ruin the book utterly. So, all I can say is that I definitely enjoyed the book when I first read it, and I still enjoyed it re-reading it now.

Rating: 5 out of 5
Highly recommended if you're in the mood for romantic comedies of the historical genre! Love it!

Sizzle Meter: 1
As was the norm of that time period of publication, there are just a couple kisses and nothing that is cause for alarm.
(Side note, I really don't know when this transition to smutty requirement happened, but it's unfortunate since books can be so entertaining, even without.)

**********

I'm so happy I found this book in the digital form! Considering when it was first published, I didn't think I would find it. There are so many more books from back then that I enjoyed, but I just can't find digital copies! =__=;;

And now that the distraction (aka the above book; I just HAD to re-read it) is out of the way, I will focus my attention back on the other one. Oh, and share this one in the other thread the next time around. There haven't been any requests, and I prefer to share a few at a time since it makes the effort more worthwhile XD

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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Wed Sep 02, 2015 12:16 pm

Lol~ I keep getting distracted by different books that I end up not reading the other one... Oh well. I started reading one of the freebie books I picked up for my kindle, along with some physical books we have. I know we have the Emma Jensen one in paperback copy, and I was hoping to hunt it out and read that way... Nope, couldn't find it, but snatched out a bunch of other ones instead... XD

Shades of the Past by Kathleen Kirkwood

Summary: A Widowed Victorian Lady: Traveling companion to an elderly, aristocratic lady, Vanessa Wynters is drawn to Royal Sherringham upon her employer's death. Little does she expect to remain at the estate beyond the funeral itself, or to find herself caught up in the secrets of the Sherringham’s turbulent past or those of the deceased noblewoman’s dark, brooding nephew - Viscount Adrian Marrable. A Mysterious Viscount: Twice wed and twice widowed, the darkly handsome lord is implicated in both his wives’ tragic and untimely deaths. Adrian is captivated by Vanessa’s golden beauty and willingly fulfills his late aunt’s dying wishes. His generous financial support allows Vanessa to remain at Sherringham and pursue her passion for photography. But her growing attraction to the enigmatic viscount proves as unsettling as the ghostly figure that appears in her photographs. Royal Sherringham: An expansive castle-mansion complex in the English West Midlands, its long history dates back to the times of the druids. What mysteries does Sherringham hold, and why did Adrian’s late aunt flee her beloved home to live in self-imposed exile? Now, as the Marrable family gathers after years apart, Sherringham’s unseen residents stir. What might they reveal if the planes between the spiritual and material dimensions are breached? Will Vanessa find an adversary or an ally in the otherworldly presence that beckons from her photographs as secrets are unearthed, shade by shocking shade? Dare Vanessa embrace her blossoming love for the dark viscount or, like her late employer, flee Sherringham forever?

Review
(My kindle freebie!) So the first thing different about this book in comparison to the normal ones that I read is that it falls under the paranormal category - basically a paranormal, historical romance. It seemed interesting enough at the time.

The whole thing was pretty dark and mysterious the whole way through, where both hero and heroine had their own secrets to keep, yet inexplicably found themselves drawn to each other.

Because of his previous experiences with marriage, Adrian had sworn off all women, but couldn't help being drawn to Vanessa. Based on his response towards her, as well as Lawrence's (the twin brother), Vanessa was supposed to be drop-dead gorgeous. Not only was she physically beautiful, she was beautiful on the inside. As the heroine, I liked Vanessa. She had an unexpected amount of courage and sass.

Another thing different about the book is the setting since it was set in the later 1800's (like 1880) versus the Regency type which is set late 1700's/early 1800's. A prominent aspect to the story was the fact that Vanessa was a budding photographer and naturally talented at it. That was one of the aspects that tied in the paranormal tilt to the story; where she could unexpectedly photograph the ghost which haunted her.

The author was very talented at description - both the setting of Sherringham, as well as all the details related to the art of photography. Unfortunately, the parts where she described the process of taking a photo and developing the prints was above my understanding, so I ended up glazing over it.

Overall, I would have to say that I was entertained by it, which is a good thing since it's the first book I've read of hers. She had really nice style of writing, and kept wanting to read more to find out in the end - with all the different dramatics going on. Like finding out who the ghost is, and discovering what history lies behind the accusations of murder towards Adrian, regarding both wives' deaths.

Rating: 4 out of 5
It was entertaining and interesting, but it's not one that I could see myself re-reading.

Sizzle Meter: 3
There were a couple "prelude" to love making scenes, where they start going at it, but the actual intercourse part is skipped over. Basically scenes where they start out kissing and are in the act of disrobing, and then it jumps to "the glorious coupling of their souls becoming one". (Lol, that sort of thing.)

**********

Uncommon Governess by Monique Ellis

Summary: Determined not to marry, Lady Amelia runs away from home. Disguising herself as bespectacled Abigail Sparrow, she accepts a position as governess. Her employer, Valentine North, had always sworn he would remain unattached--despite the fact that he'd been given charge of two wards. But soon, Val is not only in danger of tarnishing his reputation as a freewheeling bachelor, but also of losing his heart to Amelia.

Review
Because of her father, Amelia finds herself bethrothed to a man she absolutely abhors and decides to run away from home. From the countryside, she ends up in London. But not thinking through the plan too carefully, she finds herself in dire needs of an income. Being both young and beautiful, she quickly realizes that these attributes work against her as no sane agency or family would hire someone like her.

As such, she finds a way to dull down her features (like mixing in a paste to dirty her beautiful hair and wear ugly black clothes). Near to the end of her rope, she applies to this odd advertisement which is searching for a governess.

On the other hand, Val is your stereotypical bachelor who has no desire to wed, but unfortunately finds himself saddled with two wards at the death of a distant cousin. The children are coming from Canada where his cousin (a captain) had settled. Both parents died in a terrible accident and said cousin had named him guardian.

What was a bachelor to do?! He didn't want to be bothered with such a thing, but his sense of responsibility (somewhat) dictates that he do something.

Miss Sparrow crosses his path and ends up hired for the task.

Oh, and Val is the "leader" of a group of like-minded men, and they call themselves "the Irrregulars". The fellows have wagered that he will find himself leg-shackled because of his new predicament, but he is confident in his ability to make things work.

Needless to say, the provisions that Val has provided are less than adequate, but he has washed his hands of it, while Amelia struggles to do her best for the children... Who are absolute terrors, can I say? Kicking and screaming, casting up their accounts at will... Just terrible monsters.

It's your typical hate-hate start to the relationship, until the two are forced together due to different circumstances. Especially for Val who originally thought she was just a little nobody and terrible on the eyes. The only good thing about her was her voice, which seemed at odds to the rest of her.

I wish I could say more, but that would give away too much. But the characters were great - Amelia, Val and his band of merry men, as well as the children (Robert and Tabitha) and the side characters (servants). Not to mention, the children's puppy who they named Beezle (short for Beezlebub) as he was also a little terror who peed on everything and everyone. Lol~

I actually really like this book since it carried out their story beautifully, and held so much promise (a band of dedicated bachelors? helllooo....! XD). I'm just really sad I can't share it because I searched high and low, and there's no digital version... Crying or Very sad

Rating: 5 out of 5
It's seriously a good book. It has the right amount of drama, suspense and comedy. And, I know there's a "sequel" (so to speak) for one of Val's cronies. It's just too bad only paper copies exist. I might have to used book store buy or something, because I want to read itttt!!! =__=;;

Sizzle Meter: 1
I think they kissed... Once? And that's about it.

**********

*sigh* There are so many good books from back in the day that are just impossible to find.

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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Mon Sep 07, 2015 11:18 am

Haha, seriously in a reading mood... Don't know why, but it feels great! Very Happy

The Fifth Kiss by Elizabeth Mansfield

Summary: A fiery and independent young bluestocking learns a startling lesson in love from her passionate brother-in-law, who resents her opinions about his character and seeks to prove that she has feelings for him.

Review
The summary was so vague... I wasn't sure what to make of it. I hit up some reviews, but decided I didn't want to read what other people's opinions were just yet. Instead, I forced myself to truck through the thing to see for myself.

Olivia despises her brother-in-law Miles, and never has anything good to say about him. The feelings are mutual as he feels like she's an opinionated brat who butts her nose into everything. The two are always arguing about something or other, as Olivia feels that he doesn't take enough responsibility in caring for the family.

Miles is a famous politician, so he's always in London taking care of business there while his wife Clara is more inclined to stay at their country home to take care of the children. During one of Clara's visits to London, she and her sister are out and about during a foggy evening. This is when Olivia sees something that she cannot believe - her brother-in-law locked in an embrace with a lightskirt.

While she is glad that Clara doesn't notice, she feels torn on what to do. Should she tell her sister about this? She wasn't sure what to do, but decides to ask her brothers and both tell her to mind her own business. Even so, she decides that she can't stand the thought and charges to Miles' residence in London to confront him.

This is just one of the instances where they butt heads, but Miles basically shows no repentance for his behaviour and tells her point blank that he has no desires to change his ways. Rather, he turns the tables and accuses her of being a blackmailer as she had come to use this information to blackmail him into stopping.

... I still had no idea where this is going, but to jump to the spoiler, the two are supposed to be our "hero" and "heroine" of the story... So... You can imagine that something happens to Clara and passes away.

The whole story was angsty drama that basically didn't have one enjoyable character. Miles is a self-indulgent man who lets his pride get in the way of his life. Clara played the martyr as she discovers that she has a life-threatening illness, and rather than telling this to Miles, she hides it from him to the bitter end (until her dying moments), even when they had a loving relationship prior to that. Olivia is a naive girl who just feels Miles was doing injustices to first her sister, and her nephew/niece.

There was a large age gap (15 years) between the two which wasn't the issue at all. A lot of my favourites have a similar age gap. Both characters were not particularly likeable in my opinion, AND the whole idea of brother marrying sister-in-law (or vice versa) was just irksome. At the end of the day, there was growth to some extent of the characters, but not enough. Also, some of the previous issues were just glossed over... So there wasn't particularly good closure.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Can't say I enjoyed it at all and I wouldn't recommend it. It wasn't terrible, terrible, but yeah... Don't waste your time!

Sizzle Meter: 1
There were several kisses throughout the story, not just between Olivia and Miles... As Olivia was on a mini-quest to figure out what "love" between man and woman was, being an innocent with no experience. (Hence the title... I think.)

**********

An Unlikely Father by Lynn Collum

Summary: AN UNASSUMING HEIRESS
There was no question that Miss Emily Collins would agree to accompany Lord Carson's three motherless children from India to their uncle's estate near Bath. An orphan herself, Emily knew what it meant to be abandoned to the mercy of heartless relatives. Still, she didn't expect to find Oliver Carson, tenth Earl of Hawksworth, such an insufferable rake. Emily was not so bent on reform, however, that she didn't notice something intriguing about the handsome earl--including his own growing romantic interest in her! Could a man such as Oliver ever truly change...or was the thought of Emily's considerable estate behind the earl's newfound love of family?
AN ARROGANT LORD
From a perfectly contented life as a well-known rake to instant father of three, Oliver Carson has been delivered straight into hell with the arrival of Miss Collins and her menagerie of nappies, fur, and feathers! The only solution was to beg the unconventional young woman to stay at Hawk's Lair until his new family was settled--or until he was safely married to the wealthy, titled lady his grandmother had chosen for him. But as his new life of responsibility took form, Oliver had to admit that domesticity never appeared so utterly charming! Perhaps a marriage of convenience was not quite the thing after all--especially if it meant losing the most lovely and warm-hearted of women...


Review
As a type of book similar to the previous one, there were miles (lol, no pun intended) between them.

Emily was living in Calcutta for a good portion of her life, but finds that she needs to move back to England after the passing of her beloved uncle. As she was getting ready to set out on the journey, an unexpected visitor comes bearing a new responsibility for her. An acquaintance is lying on his death bed, fearful of the oncoming monsoon season, and requests her assistance to bring his three children back to their homeland. He didn't want to take his chances, not knowing his fate as his wife had already passed due to difficulties giving birth to the youngest one. Having been an orphan herself, Emily quickly agrees to deliver the children to their uncle who has been named their guardian. Unbeknownst to her, their guardian has a terrible reputation of being an infamous rake.

Oliver has been pushed between a rock and a hard place due to a promise that he had made to his grandfather; that he would marry by his 36th birthday - which was the end of that year. His grandmother had already made arrangements for a suitable fiancee, but Oliver isn't so sure he wants to jump into things - promise or not. Instead, he runs away to his country castle under the pretense of a having a house party, despite it being the heart of the season. He in turn, has no notion of the ensuing chaos that is about to fall upon his head.

Emily arrives on scene with her companion, her servant, and the bundle of children. Immediately, tempers flare as Oliver thinks that she's some tramp coming to claim monetary support for them, even though he can't remember meeting said woman, or having any by-blows. She wasn't given a chance to explain, and when she finally does, he's stunned.

Despite wishing to settle the children in properly, she feels a need for a slight vengeance, and declares that the problem is all his own as she has done her deed in bringing them there. When she storms off, the earl is forced to re-think his position as he has no knowledge on how to care for children AND at the time, he had no female staff on hand to help.

Needless to say, Emily and Delia (her companion) stay to settle in the children, who are actually very sweet and well-behaved.

The house party is quickly disbanded by Emily as she comes up with a plot that chases away Oliver's house guests - all but one, his oldest friend Sir Ethan.

Growing up in Calcutta, and the dangers of that society, Emily is not the typical English miss who simpers and defers to male intelligence. Instead, she is an intelligent young woman who has taken care of much, like any male would be expected to - helping her uncle with their plantation. She has no qualms of putting Oliver in his place when it comes to caring for the children.

And of course, there is tension between the two as Oliver cannot believe that he is being put in his place by this nobody female who has appeared out of nowhere.

The growth of their relationship is both slow and steady, which is really sweet. Oliver may seem like a hard and unreformable rake, but he easily gets drawn into the new lifestyle that guardianship requires.

The supporting characters are equally likeable as the sweet Delia does everything she can to support her mistress, even as a developing tendre forms between her and Sir Ethan. He also stays behind to support his friend as he can see something changing in Oliver with the arrival of Emily.

There are some "baddies", but mm... Nothing too major. As you can imagine, the grandmother isn't too pleased to hear about potential by-blows being set up in the ancestral home; especially when she had lined things up with a potential bride.

Overall, the book was really enjoyable. It probably seemed more reading it right after the previous one. So maybe my opinion is a little biased since they were similar types for plot line.

Rating: 4 out of 5
It's a cute story, especially with the children (and all their pets, who I hadn't mentioned previously) XD

Sizzle Meter: 1
There were just a few kisses and the usual undertones of attraction. Nothing more~

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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Mon Sep 07, 2015 5:33 pm

Wow! look at you go! I'm glad someone's keeping the thread alive....

I have been reading, just not romances. But, I've decided to review what I've read anyway...

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

Summary:
Meet Dexter Morgan, a polite wolf in sheep’s clothing. He’s handsome and charming, but something in his past has made him abide by a different set of rules. He’s a serial killer whose one golden rule makes him immensely likeable: he only kills bad people. And his job as a blood splatter expert for the Miami police department puts him in the perfect position to identify his victims. But when a series of brutal murders bearing a striking similarity to his own style start turning up, Dexter is caught between being flattered and being frightened–of himself or some other fiend.

Review:
I had been watching the series before I lost interest (the lack of time kills your interest in everything Crying or Very sad ) so when I realized my brother had the book, what better way to catch up? At first the book and the series were rather identical to each other but as you progressed, you can see/read the divergences. The story was told in the first person voice and you could really see what made Dexter tick. I found him to be a little more darkly humourous in the book compared to the series but it was a page turner nonetheless. Don't assume it to be a CSI-ish book and you'll be fine. While Dexter is a blood splatter pattern analyst, his work is hardly described in the book at all. It's all about the hunt and being hunted so to speak. I really would recommend it.

Ratings: 4/5
If you have a thing for thriller like books, or if you liked the series, go ahead and try the books.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Summary
An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Creatures once extinct now roam Jurassic Park, soon-to-be opened as a theme park. Until something goes wrong…and science proves a dangerous toy….

Review:
Yes, this is a very old book... Yes, it was adapted into a movie but when the movie was released, I was just a kid and there was no such thing as PG or R  ratings. So I spent about 80 percent of my time cowering behind the seat or hiding in my mum's lap. I was also so very traumatized that I refused to watch it everytime it was aired on TV. But since I'm older and less prone to jump scares anymore (I hope... =_=; ) and I was keen on watching Jurassic World (I wasn't scared! woohoo!) my brother pestered me to read this. I have to admit, while it was (again) different between book and movie, I really enjoyed it. The book was a page turner and I really wanted to find out what was going on. While the technology in the book might be a little confusing and slightly irrelevant (it was released in 1990) today, the book made you sit down and think and the characters in the book made you relate to what was going on and you found yourself either hoping they get away or wishing they'd get eaten. All in all, a good read if you're into techo-thrillers.

Ratings: 4.5/5
It might be old, but there was a reason it was a number one best seller in its day.

What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge

Summary:
Twelve-year-old Katy is constantly making and quickly breaking resolutions about how she will change her ways and treat others, especially her five younger brothers and sisters, with more respect and compassion. When Katy meets her Cousin Helen, an invalid, Katy is awed by her kindness, prettiness, and generosity. Katy is determined to become more like Helen, a resolution that lasts only a few hours. Soon, however, Katy gets a chance to become more like cousin Helen than she ever wished as she finds herself confined to her bedroom for four years as a result of an accident.

Review:
I seem to be all over the place with my reading genres... But when I saw this book, I really had to get it because I remember loving it so much when I was a kid. I still do. Katy is really an active dreamer of a child and she is forever dreaming of the day when she'll be famous because of her good deeds and such. When she is met with an accident, she has to learn how to accept her situation and how to change for the better because of it. While it has a rather sad twist to the story, if you love the classics like Little Women and Anne of Green Gables, this is another one you can add to your collection of classics. ^_^

Ratings: 5/5
You'll laugh, you'll cry and at the end of the book, you'll wish there was more... (and there is, the story continues in What Katy did at school, What Katy did next, Clover and Valley High)

Hopefully I'll be in the mood to read romance again soon... if I do, I'll definitely post a review!
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:55 am

Woohoo! Someone adding reviews besides me! I was starting to feel like a broken record with all the new posts... LOL~ AND, nowhere does it say this is a thread for "romances only"! So reviews of any kind are welcome!! As long as it is a book ^__~

I don't know why, but I've never been into classics... In my head, they seem like they'll be too boring? haha~ I never knew Dexter was an actual book series! I never got into that series at all, but it's cool to know that the series isn't a cookie-cutter of the book. That kind of bugs me.

I have this weird love-hate relationship with books-turned-movie. If it's a good book and they deviate too much from it, I don't like it. But if it's an exact carbon copy of the book, then I don't like it either cuz I might as well just read the book (which tends to be better imo). Way too fussy about that XD

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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Tue Oct 06, 2015 4:49 pm

Ok, I checked and I know aerysa did not review this...

His Unusual Governess by Anne Herries

Who: Sarah Hardcastle and Lord Rupert Myers

What: (summary from www.lindasole.co/uk) Heiress Sarah Hardcastle is convinced her plan to escape the unwanted attentions of a fortune-hunter is foolproof. Buried deep in the countryside, and with a whole new identity as prim governess Miss Goodrum, Sarah is looking forward to the quiet life for once... But her careful masquerade is shaken when she meets her pupils' mentor, Lord Rupert Myers. An incorrigible flirt. Rupert has the looks and the charm to make Sarah blush all the way down to her high-buttoned neckline - and the determination to uncover what's beneath! Sarah will need her wits about her if she's to resist Rupert's roguish ways and keep her secret intact...

Review: I'd read The Bartered Bride, which aerysa has already supplied us with the review. Since I more or less agree with her, I decided to read and review this one. Sarah is a Cit's daughter and has been running her father's business successfully since her father's passing. That said, she isn't afraid to speak her mind and will not back down from intimidation. She is also fun loving and has a gentle heart and soon the children in her charge have come to adore her for who she is. The problem is of course Lord Rupert Myers, who has come to mentor the the children and become all round overseer to their education. He knows that Sarah is unconventional and suspects that Sarah was never a governess before this. He also finds himself oddly attracted to her but he doesn't know why. Sparks fly, tempers flare, miscommunication happens and add the thrill of a villain in there and you have a typical harlequin romance. It was fun that Sarah is an independent, capable woman but Rupert felt a little rushed. His back story is never really explained and we can't really see what makes him tick... which ticked me off... so the the story seemed sort of unbalanced. A good read overall, even if the hero's substance is never fully explained.

Ratings: 4/5 (light, enjoyable reading, I suppose)

Sizzle meter: 2-3 (there is some obligatory smut of course, just towards the back and not explained in detail)

Hopefully I'll be in the mood to read some more soon
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Wed Oct 07, 2015 1:45 am

I just want to thank both silvery and aerysa for your reviews. I was perusing the sixth page of these reviews and decided that two of the books reviewed by aerysa interested me. They were:

Emma Jensen's "Best Laid Schemes" and
Lynn Collum's "An Unlikely Father"

Although I am a historical nit-picker, and as such tend to avoid Regency and other Historical Romances; I did enjoy these two. aerysa your reviews and comments on the books were spot on and I spent some very relaxing hours reading these two books while it rained all day.

I just wanted to let you know that your reviews are really read and appreciated, Thanks.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Wed Oct 07, 2015 2:54 pm

silvery wrote:
Ok, I checked and I know aerysa did not review this...

His Unusual Governess by Anne Herries
Strange... I totally thought I did review it, unless I'm confusing it with The Bartered Bride. I know I've at least read that book, so... Yeah. I must have imagined I did, or it was on my list of "to review".

Thanks swede for letting us know that we're not the only ones haunting this thread. Sometimes it feels like it since no one says anything!

I've been reading since I've had time - long flights for vacation and quietness during work lunch since all my friends are gone... Going to have a lot more time to read, lol~ But I want to reformulate my thoughts about them, so I'll do them next time! Smile

Edit: I'm not crazy! I did review that book! Mine is tucked away at the bottom of page 4. hehe~ Double confirmation that it was an enjoyable book since our reviews are pretty similar.

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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Wed Oct 07, 2015 5:23 pm

aerysa wrote:


Edit: I'm not crazy! I did review that book! Mine is tucked away at the bottom of page 4. hehe~ Double confirmation that it was an enjoyable book since our reviews are pretty similar.

Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry! I went back about two pages only, where you had reviewed The Bartered Bride... Embarassed but you're right about the double confirmation thing. Laughing

swedesamurai wrote:
I just want to thank both silvery and aerysa for your reviews. I was perusing the sixth page of these reviews and decided that two of the books reviewed by aerysa interested me. They were:

Emma Jensen's "Best Laid Schemes" and
Lynn Collum's "An Unlikely Father"

Although I am a historical nit-picker, and as such tend to avoid Regency and other Historical Romances; I did enjoy these two. aerysa your reviews and comments on the books were spot on and I spent some very relaxing hours reading these two books while it rained all day.

I just wanted to let you know that your reviews are really read and appreciated, Thanks.

Thank you! It's nice to be appreciated Very Happy this will definitely be incentive to share more reviews when I have the time.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Sun Oct 11, 2015 3:56 pm

Agreed about incentive about sharing reviews, knowing that someone is actually reading them. So back with some more! ^_^

A Match for Melissa by Kathryn Kirkwood

Summary:
Once Upon A Season...
...deep in the heart of the country, there lived a pretty young miss with raven tresses, who dreamed of a London debut. But alas, Melissa Harrington's future lays in the hands of her nipfarthing stepmother who thought only of matching up her own two daughters. Worse still, the lively, sweet-natured Melissa had to help the family by posing as servant to her stepsisters when they were launched upon the ton. And thus, it came about that the Harrington "maid" found herself behind the scenes at a society ball, snatching a moment from her menial duties, on a starlit balcony.
Suddenly, there appeared before her a handsome stranger with an eye for beauty and a passion for astronomy. One moment, Melissa was discussing with him the heavenly constellations, the next, she was in his arms for one enchanted waltz...and the next, she was in love. But later--when this nonpareil, the Duke of Oakwood, sought out his bewitching, half-glimpsed dance partner--fate was to lead him in a merry dance of mistaken identity, misplaced attentions, and a daring adventure in which only fate could determine the destiny of two hearts...


Review
The story had a very Cinderella feel to it with Melissa being cast into the role of servant by her "evil" stepmother while she and her daughters run around in the limelight of society. The similarities end there because thankfully, her stepsisters are not mean at all. Rather, they adore Melissa and do not agree with their mother's treatment of her. They just have no power to do anything about it.

Melissa meets our hero in this unexpected twist of fate despite her acting out her "servant" role as she was sent to help out at another lady's household when a number of servants came down sick before a big ball. Though they can't see each other's faces, they are charmed by each other during their brief meeting.

The duke felt inclined to find out who she was, but only had the design of her cloak to use as identification since he never had a chance to see her face. Unfortunately, it is a cloak that actually belongs to Melissa's stepsister Regina and the duke begins courting her, mistakenly thinking it was the same lady he met out on the balcony.

Anyways, the story is pretty sweet. Melissa is pretty selfless in helping out her family, even though she's cast into a role which is beneath her since she's actually the daughter of a lord (earl? can't remember the actual title). Yet she never says anything harsh towards her stepmother or stepsisters. Instead, she takes everything in stride. Rather, she's happy to have those brief encounters with the duke while he courts her stepsister, even as she serves as the maid.

The duke obviously feels confused since Regina never seems to live up to the initial encounter. (They bonded over mythology, something which she actually knows nothing about.) At the same time, Regina herself is also very sweet and giving as she had hoped to dedicate her life to service of the poor; something her mother obviously disagrees about.

There weren't really any baddies, even if the stepmom is somewhat mean. All three sisters end up having their own version of happily ever after, so it was nicely concluded that way too. All the characters (besides stepmom) were likeable. Overall, I really enjoyed it~

Rating: 4 out of 5
An enjoyable read that kept me entertained the entire time + extra points for a nice epilogue. hehe, I love those~

Sizzle Meter: 2?
I'm pretty sure nothing exciting happened in that department. I can't even recall if they kiss or not. Very tame in that department!

**********

I have another series to review which I shared in the other thread, but I don't have enough time to do all of them since there are 3 books. So I'll come back and do that later!

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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:34 pm

Disclaimer: If anybody remembered, I had suddenly asked for a horror story out of the blue and aerysa happily provided it. This was a sudden request from my brother and I promised I'd look around for it. So as a thank you for the share, I assigned my brother to write a review after he was done with it. If the writing style is different, it's because it is. Anyway, for those who might be interested...

The Mall by SL GREY

A part mystery, part horror story with plenty of wonderfully sick humor and sarcastic lines, this book is not for those with a poor stomach (many details described in full details) or an aversion to f-bombs. If you know someone who’s likely to pick the book up just to see where you are in a book, and that person happens to be a nun (or someone you call ‘Nana’), keep this away from them.

The Mall is a story written from the point-of-view of the two main characters, troubled youth Rhoda and whiny Daniel. The two characters are as different from each other as apples are to cabbages, yet each of them have their own hidden depth and the main draw of the story is the way these two characters develop.

The two are thrown into a series of escalating dilemmas that stems from a misunderstanding that require them to help each other as they navigate the eponymous and treacherous mall. The Mall itself seems to be a maze made up completely of things that go bump in the dark. And the two main characters get themselves deeply entrenched in the lost-and-will-never-be-found department. And on top of that, the two are plagued by an unknown eye in the sky, watching their every move, and at times, seems to be in their heads and toying with them via their malfunctioning phones.

Once the pair have escaped the unseen things that hunt after them, they enter a place where things are not what they seem. They’re still in The Mall, but this version is a lot more morbid than the one they knew. This is most likely an aside in a horror novel on how consumerism and capitalism (Capitalism, Ho!) controls both buyer and seller.

The story itself is broken up into two major parts. The first being the trip through The Mall, and the second deals with the fallout from their return from The Mall.

The book’s atmosphere is well described, making you feel dread at every sentence, yet you find yourself reading and asking what happens next. You’ll feel like taking a shower after reading through the first half of the book. Trust me on this.

Characters are also well written. They’re relatable, if you’ve ever run away from home or worked a bookshop before. They’re also very likable, despite being less than perfect protagonists. S.L Grey wrote the character development in such a way that while you know this is Rhoda and Daniel, their evolution is believable.

The humor of the book is also woven into the book from two angles; the character’s observation of something or someone, and Rhoda’s interaction with Daniel. One golden line however, is between Rhoda and a secondary character. Sick humor is also written in the book, making for very, very twisted humor.

One aspect of the book I did not like though, was that while there was a sense of dread, and in buckets or, ha, wholesale, there was nothing that really terrified me as I read this book. But then again, reading Stephen King on a frequent basis has completely cauterized any terror I might have, but I will say that the lack of anything terrifying on even the smallest of levels is a bit of a downer. This is something that could not be helped though, as the story has established that something else was controlling the Mall, as opposed to the usual ghoulie or monster type story making the effective use of terror less of a priority.

Another thing I did not like was that there are many questions that are not properly answered. Yes, there are sequels written; the book is the first in a trilogy series featuring the denizens of the mall, but many of the questions I have in mind come in the context of The Mall itself.

Overall though, a highly recommended read. 4 out of 5.

PS: On a personal note, I read all 250 pages through, over a series of 3 or so days. The first 50 or so in the first two days, and then the remaining 200 in a ‘what-will-happen-next?’ kind of fervor only stopping to shower and eat before launching back into the book. And I am a slow reader. Make of that what you will.

I have been reading and will probably share my own reviews soon... Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Tue Oct 13, 2015 11:34 am

aerysa wrote:
...

A Match for Melissa by Kathryn Kirkwood

...
[

OK I'm a sucker for Cinderella type stories just bought this book from Google Books and will give it a read.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Tue Oct 13, 2015 12:10 pm

Of course I remember! haha, I'm the one who shared it Razz BTW, your brother has a really nice writing style. I like it~

Okay, so to finish the reviews that I didn't get around to previously!

My Notorious Aunt series by Kathleen Baldwin

I got Book 3 as an Amazon freebie, but when I found out it was part of a series, I ended up purchasing the previous two since they sounded interesting.

Lady Fiasco (Book 1)

Summary
Lady Be Good

Fiona Hawthorn would like nothing better than to venture out unnoticed. Alas, everywhere she goes, mayhem seems to follow. It isn't as if she invites trouble, it just seems to find her. Yet one gentleman refuses to believe the worst. Lord Wesmont, her devastatingly handsome neighbor and childhood friend, scoffs at the notion of a curse. But when Fiona all but offers him her love and he storms away, she is convinced that her bad fortune extends to matters of the heart, as well...

Scarred by his hellish experiences on the battlefields of Spain, Tyrell, Lord Wesmont, has returned to England a changed man. Angry and brooding, he wants nothing to do with the eligible females his interfering mother insists on foisting upon him. But at a glittering ball, he finds himself reacquainted with the one human being capable of making him smile. Fiona Hawthorn has gone from mischievous imp to bewitching minx. And Westmont soon falls under the sweet smell of love...


Review
For a book that was labeled as a romantic comedy, I didn't find it terribly amusing. It started off well, but I was sadly disappointed as the story progressed.

Fiona was very hard on herself, almost miserably so, because of all the accidents she may or may not have caused in her life. To the point that everyone around her would call her "Lady Fiasco" or "Duchess of Disaster" or some such nickname. She pretty much believed it of herself, and nothing much shook her from it.

Westmont was a hero who had grown up with Fiona, but came back from war a changed man. He didn't like the way people would call Fiona those such nicknames and tried to shake her from this pessimistic point of view. In his own way, he would look out for her, but always tried to keep this barrier between them because he "wasn't the marrying type (anymore)".  

The "notorious aunt" that the series refers to was funny at the beginning, but then she became almost obnoxious later on in the series... She was very much an independent woman, but didn't like the idea that she was getting old. Rather than referring to Fiona as a "charge", she would call her a "protege".

I was expecting something along the lines of Emma Jensen's Best Laid Schemes, and it was definitely not that at all. There weren't any hateful characters, but neither were there any that were particularly memorable. Maybe the aunt, for all her crazy ways...

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
It was an alright read.

Sizzle Meter: 3
It wasn't so much as smut scenes that I rate it higher, but the fact that the aunt would wear atrociously revealing outfits and that she would essentially flash people in them... At least the one particular outfit that stands out in my mind... =__=;;

*****

Mistaken Kiss (Book 2)

Summary
TO ERR IS HUMAN...
If only nearsighted Willa Linnet hadn't removed her spectacles before kissing her prospective fiance. Her scheme had seemed entirely logical: she wished to know whether Daniel Braeburn's stodgy exterior concealed fiery passion. Instead, Willa has discovered her own desire--for Alexander Braeburn, Daniel's prodigal brother. And a vicar's younger sister with a meager dowry and unruly red hair has no hope of landing a gentleman of the ton...at least, not without her Aunt Honore's determined meddling...

...BUT CUPID'S AIM IS TRUE
Alexander Braeburn is having a most agreeable dream while he dozes in his brother's orchard. A shapely young beauty is insisting on a kiss, and he obliges her...several times. But soon Willa Linnet has intruded on his reality in a way that is both delightful and disconcerting. Women like Willa are made for marriage and family, and Alex has little interest in either. And yet, as others begin to vie for her affections, Alex realizes that losing his lovely, spirited Willa would be the greatest mistake of all...


Review
For book 2, the aunt's crazies are toned down compared to book 1, but she's basically on the same quest as she was in book 1 - to find a proper protege since she has no legal heir (being childless from her marriage).

The beginning starts off quite funny as we meet Willa while her brother Jerome is discussing this "dilemma" with a close neighbor and friend, Daniel. Unbeknownst to the two scholarly gentleman, they suddenly discover that Willa is no longer a child, but has become a young lady! As such, there are so many more responsibilities - having to see that she marries well and what not.

Since the two bachelors are the ones to bring her up, she's something of a bluestocking. The three get along comfortably, so Daniel quickly offers his hand in marriage as a way to combat this "dilemma" (since it would be super expensive to cart her off to London and give her a proper season).

Willa reluctantly consents to "think about it", and comes across a dilemma of her own... She knows there will be comfort, but will there be love and passion? Hence, she decides to perform her own test - aka kiss her intended betrothed and see what happens.

Unfortunately... She stumbles across the wrong brother and ends up kissing Alex, Daniel's brother who had unexpectedly come to stay while he was planning on attending a local boxing match.

The kiss was all she had dreamed it to be... Except it was the wrong man! Her eyes have been opened to the reality that kissing can be pleasurable, and Daniel sadly fails when she tries it with him.

And then... Before anything can come of it, Aunt Honore is there to whisk her away to London! She offers everything that her brother couldn't, and Willa knew she desired to see more of Alex (a Corinthian who only stayed in the village for the match), so she lets herself go along with her aunt...

Antics ensue as others see Willa to be as desirable as Alex does, though he has always claimed to not care about marriage.

I wouldn't say that the comedy of the story was "laugh out loud" funny, but it was amusing - especially some of the side characters. I enjoyed this one a lot more since there were no baddies at all, and the ending itself... Lol, well, just yeah... I won't give it away.

Rating: 4 out of 5
I enjoyed this one a lot more than the previous one, and I did love the interactions between Willa and Alex. Even some of the side characters were quite amusing in their own rights.

Sizzle Meter: 2
Yeah, beyond the first couple kisses... Nothing really.

*****

Cut from the Same Cloth (Book 3)

Summary
MIRROR, MIRROR...

Finding a husband is never easy, and Elizabeth Hampton has nothing but her beauty to recommend her. Elizabeth's flair for fashion has attracted the ton's esteem, though the insufferable Lord St. Cleve is soon showing up her unique style, arriving at a society function in apparel that matches her new dress! Thoroughly annoyed, Elizabeth vows the fun-loving nobleman will never best her again...

The pretensions of London society disgust St. Cleve--after all, his grandfather's snobbery made his mother's life miserable. Mocking the self-important twits of the ton is endlessly amusing, even when Elizabeth Hampton gets in the way. The spirited minx is the biggest pretender of them all, and he resolves to teach her a lesson she won't soon forget--though he's tempted to kiss away her questions one by one...


Review
As book 3, the story line is a little different compared to the previous two. This time, the "notorious aunt" is aunt to a nephew - St. Cleve. His father is on his death bed, and urges his son to settle down and think about the future. As such, he has little choice but to rush off to London with his aunt and act upon his father's dying wish.

Elizabeth is desperate for a match since her family is in dire circumstances. Her father and older brother have disappeared in America, and their family faces ruin. As such, she has her eyes on a match with a wealthy man - someone who can save them.

Her twin brother (forgot his name already) is there in London with her, and desired to introduce her to a "great gun"... Only to discover that her brother is friends with St. Cleve, the man who was wearing an atrocious outfit made of the exact same beautiful cloth that she had used to fashion her own dress.

Needless to say, the two are thrown together here and there as St. Cleve (and Aunt Honore) offer their household for them to stay in, since the brother mentioned the troubling circumstances they were in.

Elizabeth and St. Cleve (Valen, short for Valentine) basically get along like fire and ice, and are always butting heads. But as they live under the same roof, they both discover that neither is quite as they seem on the surface...

Overall, I think this deviated from the whole comedy aspect, and ventured somewhere darker, since there is actually a villain in this story. The attraction between the two is very tangible, even as they struggle with their ideas of what they desire. Elizabeth is opinionated and outspoken, but still had this fragility to her that drew in Valen. On the other hand, he would annoy her to no end, but still look out for her and provide the strength that she so lacked from her brother.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5
LOL~ Just because I liked it more than Book 2. I think her stories got better with time. Aunt Honore is still there to create some comedic effects, but overall, she wasn't a big focus in the story like she was in Book 1.

Sizzle Meter: 2 or 3
They kiss a couple times that I remember.

*****

As a series, it was interesting... I think the first book starts off focusing more on the "notorious aunt" more than the romance between the hero and heroine. But with her character already developed for the subsequent books, she was able to focus on the main characters more.

You don't HAVE to read all three to enjoy it since they don't overlap much - except for the presence of Aunt Honore. I would just recommend Book 2 and 3 if you don't mind skipping.

So... Overall, I'm a little disappointed that I paid money for these, even though it wasn't much. I was expecting more out of it, especially from reading the summaries.

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