Jen’s Favorites of 2016

I haven’t read quite as many books this year as I did in years past. Part of the reason is the huge life changes that came with a new job and a major move for my family. The other came with my sudden burning desire to write a book of my own.

So my reading list was shorter, but I still found some great titles in 2016! [Read more…]

Review: Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

because of miss bridgertonReviewed by Jen

I completely adored this book. It is an enemies to lovers story done right. These two characters are just so much fun in their sniping and snarking, I was completely entertained from the first page until the end. It feels so effortless; there is nothing forced in their dynamic, nothing contrived. I believed it, as the attraction –and later, affection– grew. And I didn’t want to put it down.

If you’re a fan of Julia Quinn, you’ll likely recognize the Bridgerton name. This new series is a prequel to that one.  Billie is the Miss Bridgerton in question. She is a bold and frank hoyden, who grew up bosom friends with her neighbors, the Rokesbys. Mary was always her best friend, but she was just as close with brothers Edward and Andrew. Only George, the oldest, was different; a little older, a little stodgier, an heir through and through, he got on her nerves every bit as much as she grated on his. [Read more…]

Review: The Lady Most Likely by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Connie Brockway

lady most likelyReviewed by Janell

This is billed as a novel in three parts, and it was written by three pros in the historical romance genre. In a first for me, I listened to this as an audio book. Do you guys do that? I checked it out from the library, which you definitely should be doing. And if you use your children’s library cards to request more books than your card allows? Well, aren’t you smart! [Read more…]

Review: The Sum of All Kisses

sum of all kissesReviewed by Jen

Another great read from Julia Quinn.  I love physically flawed heroes! Not only is Hugh disabled, he questions his worth as a man.  He questions whether he is good enough for his heroine.  All of these things are more reasons for me to love him.  And love him, I did, despite the stupid mistake that got him into this position in the first place.

Hugh has an affinity for numbers. He is brilliant with them, so much so that when he lost a card game one drunken night years ago, he was sure his friend Daniel had to be cheating in order to win.  He promptly challenged his (also drunk) buddy to a duel, bringing about two life changing events.  One, he got shot in the leg, damaging the bone and muscle for life.  And two, his father blamed Daniel, running him out of town with threats to his life. [Read more…]

Review: The Lady Most Willing

Reviewed by Jen

It’s anthology, but not.  It’s dubbed as “a novel in three parts” and I think that’s a pretty fair assessment. Each author tackles a different couple, but all three love stories fall under the umbrella of a bigger picture.  And for the most part, I really liked it.

The basic story is this: a Scottish laird, who sees no prospect of a wife and child of his own, decides to find a matches for his two nephews and potential heirs.  So he kidnaps four eligible heiresses (and one stuffy duke by accident) and drags them back to his castle to put his plan in motion.  Snow keeps anyone from leaving, and everyone ends up finding their perfect match over the course of a few days.

Generally speaking, I really hate it when couples fall in love in such a short time, but the story had almost a fairy tale type feel that made me fixate on this less.  And though the individual love stories were clearly defined, I thought the authors did a fantastic job of working together to make it all flow together in a cohesive way.

The first third of the book was my favorite.  It features a lovely pairing between the stuffy duke, Bret, and Catronia, a lesser member of the nobility. The laird didn’t really mean to kidnap either of them. After all, Catronia has no money to bring to a match with one of his nephews, and the duke is –well– a man.  But they really make a great couple, as the duke found someone to look past his title for the first time and see him simply as John.

Part two featured the laird’s uptight and proper nephew, Byron, and Fiona, the bespectacled redhead with a tattered reputation. This one was my least favorite of the three. I just didn’t think Byron made an attractive hero and his affections toward Fiona seemed to come out of nowhere.

Part three focused on the laird’s true heir, Robin, who has a reputation as a dissolute rake.  But Lady Cecily doesn’t judge him on the gossip. She is a firm believer in true love, and (though neither realizes it right away) theirs was a case of love at first sight.  Robin really tries to stay away from Cecily, because he believes she deserves better than him, but she won’t give up on what’s in her heart.

The whole thing was very easy reading… sweet and fun. I was a bit sad when it was over.  Definitely worth reading for fans of historical romance.

Rating: B+

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
The Lady Most Willing
by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Connie Brockaway
Release Date: December 26, 2012
Publisher: Avon

Review: A Night Like This

Reviewed by Jen

This was my first Julia Quinn book.  I found it delightful and fantastic and I can’t wait for a chance to jump into her backlist to catch up on all that I have been missing.

The heroine of our story is Anne.  She was born a gentlewoman, but a horrible event in her past cast her out from her family.  Now she makes her way as a governess.  It’s been years since she’s even entertained the idea of love.  After all, her romantic notions are what got her into trouble in the first place.  But from the moment she catches Daniel’s eye across a crowded room, her fate is sealed.

A relationship between Daniel and Anne is wholly inappropriate.  He is an earl and she is governess to his young cousins.  But he, too, has been cut off from his family.   A bungled duel put him under a death threat that forced him from the country for years. He has only just returned to the fold.  And Anne has made his homecoming even sweeter.

Anne knows they can never have a real future, so she fights her feelings. But Daniel is relentless in his pursuit. He is so charming and determined to win her.  The evolution of their relationship is sweet and believable.  And when someone starts making attempts on their lives, it ups the stakes.  Is it someone from Daniel’s past or is Anne’s old life coming back to haunt her?

The pacing is so good, the book felt like it just flew by.  It had a steady rhythm of romance and action and light-hearted fun. The love story sets the main stage, but the book is made richer with a developed cast of secondary characters, from the trio of girls Anne cares for, to Hugh –the man Daniel shot all those years ago.  I was engaged from the first page to the last.

It wasn’t even until I was finished that I realized this is the second book in the Smith-Smyth Quartet series.  This works completely as a standalone –though I am happy to know there are more books to come.

Rating: A-

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
 A Night Like This
by Julia Quinn
Release Date: May 29, 2012
Publisher: Avon