Review: Ripe for Seduction

Reviewed by Jen

I have always enjoyed Isobel Carr’s League of Second Sons series, but I really had trouble connecting with this one.  It got better for me as the story progressed. The first half, though, just didn’t reel me in.

The story follows Lady Olivia as she struggles to overcome the social stigma of finding out her marriage was invalid.  She had no idea she had married a bigamist –she followed all of society’s rules– but she is considered damaged goods, nonetheless.  She still has her beauty and a hefty dowry, and her father is pushing her back into society.

In a drunken stupor, Roland Devere sends her a scandalous proposition, and Olivia is smart enough to turn his insult to her advantage.  She tells his family and hers that he has proposed marriage. He knows that if he exposes the lie, she’ll produce the letter. They make the deal to front a phony engagement long enough to insulate her from the ton, then she’ll call it off and retire to the country.  Of course, in their time together, the ruse becomes a reality.

The two are attracted to each other right off the bat. And Devere is set on getting Olivia into bed.  But one of the first problems I had with the book is how many liberties she allows him early on.  As much as she is determined not to be with him, she acquiesces to some mighty big physical advances, over and over again. Then she goes back to acting like there is nothing between them. It just didn’t ring true.

I found that really preferred the secondary romance between Olivia’s father, Phillip, and Devere’s sister, Margo. That one kept me guessing and I thought their exchanges were both genuine and very, very sexy.

Like I said, the book did improve for me in the second half, especially once there was some actual conflict between Olivia and Devere –and the author began really pulling the threads of the book together.  But the main romance never really bowled me over. I just didn’t get the same pull or dynamic from them that I got from Phillip and Margo.  Those two saved the story for me.

Rating: C+

*ARC Provided by Forever via NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
Ripe for Seduction
by Isobel Car
Release Date: December 18, 2012
Publisher: Forever

Review: Ripe for Scandal

Reviewed by Jen

Gareth Sandison is in love with his best friend’s little sister, Beau. But as a second son, he knows the lady is out of his reach.  Beau has other ideas.  She wants Gareth for her own, and when he saves her from a kidnapping attempt, she grasps her opportunity to have him.

The two decide to wed in order to keep Beau’s reputation intact –and it works for the most part.  But swooping in on a friend’s sister is a cardinal sin among gentlemen and the marriage leaves Gareth ostracized among his buddies.  The love is there for our couple and so is some pretty rockin’ sex… but they aren’t without problems.  In addition to Gareth losing his friends, they must also deal with a revenge plot against Beau and the appearance of Gareth’s bastard nephew, who his brother refuses to claim.

The baby is where the book lost me.  I kind of like the idea of our hero and heroine banding together to thumb their nose at society.  They were a united force (who entertained me with steamy love scenes.)  But Gareth’s willingness to break Beau’s heart to perpetrate his brother’s lies completely alienated me.  It was totally unnecessary.  Even if he wanted to maintain the pretense to the outside world, lying to Beau was inexcusable.  She handled it better than anyone could expect, but when the truth comes out and she apologizes for being a bad wife… she lost me too.

The first half of the book was pretty enjoyable… and I was satisfied by the time we got to the ending.  But the baby plot device/ secret/ misunderstanding was a big fail.  3 1/2 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
Ripe for Scandal
by Isobel Car
Release Date: August 23, 2011
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review: Ripe for Pleasure

Reviewed by Jen

Let me start out by saying what a treat it was to read a historical romance where the heroine is not a young virgin.  In fact, Viola is anything-but.  She is a beautiful and successful courtesan who is about to publish her second memoir, when thugs invade her home.  She assumes they were sent at the behest of her former lover. But they’re really men hired to find an old treasure believed to be hidden in her home.  Only two people know about the treasure: Charles (who sent the brutes) and his cousin Leo, a second-son of the ton.  Leo doesn’t approve of Charles’ violent methods and sets out to seduce his way into Viola’s life to give him access to her home.

Of course, Leo ends up just as smitten as Viola.  He takes her on as his mistress, with the promise to protect her from danger.  Their sex scenes are phenomenal! (Though I have to admit, I was disappointed that we didn’t see their first time together on-page.  I thought that was a bit odd, but their subsequent encounters were so hot, I stopped caring.)  Feelings slowly start to make their way into the relationship, but things are very complicated. From the secret of why Leo approached her; to the danger Charles continues to pose; to the disparity in their class… the odds are stacked against them.  But our couple is extremely rootable –and despite Leo’s less than noble beginnings, both leads are very likeable.

I really enjoyed this story. It got better with every page.  And I am really looking forward to Ripe for Scandal, featuring Leo’s sister Beau. 4 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley