Review: Always by Lynsay Sands

alwaysReviewed by Jen

You know that a book is not the right fit for you when you spend the entire thing waiting for the hero to stop being an idiot. For me, generally the hero of a romance is the most important part of the story and Aric was just a big, fat fail. The book begins with him swearing off marriage because his betrothed cheated on him. But the King rules out his plans for an extended bachelorhood when he decrees Aric shall marry his illegitimate daughter, Rosemunde.

So Aric is against getting married from out of the gate, but he can’t deny an edict from the crown. That sets us up for loads of fun. He’s essentially a prat to his new bride from the word go. He’s not trying to punish her or anything, but he figures that if one woman cheats, they’re all going to cheat and he behaves accordingly. [Read more…]

Review: An English Bride in Scotland

Reviewed by Jen

If you are in the mood for a light and sweet historical, you’ve come to the right place.  This is a pleasant, enjoyable, and fast read… featuring a daughter no one wanted, finding happiness in the life that her sister threw away.

Annabel was sent to live at an abbey at the age of seven and has lived there ever since, trying to make the best of her lot in life.  She hasn’t done well in her training. She enjoys life too much, enjoys food, laughter, and simple joys.  But the abbey is all she has ever known.  So when her mother appears out of the blue and whisks her back to the home she hasn’t seen in more than a decade, she has no idea what to make of it.

It turns out that her parents promised the hand of their eldest daughter to the son of an old ally.  Unfortunately, Annabel’s big sister Kate ran away with the stable boy and that leaves Annabel to take her place.  She resigns herself to do her parents’ bidding, despite the fact she is completely unprepared to be a wife or to run an estate.

Ross is attracted to Annabel right away.  He sees her beauty on the inside and out, and their marriage of convenience quickly becomes one in truth. It’s really very sweet. There’s not really an internal conflict; no lies or stupid choices.  No big misunderstanding.  We just get to watch these two fall in love.  Ross is a noble and good leader to his people. He is a caring and understanding husband.  Annabel is pure of heart. She wants to be a good wife to her new husband and a good lady to his people. How could you not root for these two?

It’s not all smooth sailing. Someone is trying to kidnap Annabel.  The big issue of the book centers on keeping her safe while figuring out who is after her and way.  When all is revealed, it’s a fairly satisfying conclusion.  It’s not very deep.  By that, I mean, it is not in anyway emotionally taxing or challenging.  But sometimes, a feel good story is what you need.  The love story is nice; the sex is good; and the plot wasn’t overly predictable.  There were times some of the characters stretched close to caricatures, especially members of Annabel’s family.  But overall, I found it an enjoyable read.

Rating: B-

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
An English Bride in Scotland
by Lynsay Sands
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Publisher: Avon

Review: The Husband Hunt

Reviewed by Jen

The Madison sisters are back to find a happy ending for the last among them yet to be married. We first met Lisa back in The Countess and it was obvious, even then, that Robert would be the man for her. Unfortunately, Robert is the only one who doesn’t see it.

Two years have passed since the events of the last book. And while Lisa has grown older, Robert still sees her as a little sister. Lisa is tired of waiting for him to come around so she decides that she will finally come out and choose another man to focus her affections upon –her search is on for a husband.

Before she can put her plan in action, she is drugged by a local madam and nearly handed over to a mysterious “suitor.” Thankfully, Robert saves the day at the last minute, but the suitor gets away without making his identity known. Now Robert must keep Lisa safe until he can ferret out who is after her. And of course, that means he gets a front row seat for her husband hunt.

It doesn’t take long for Robert to began seeing Lisa differently. I really liked watching him succumb to his desires for her. But he had some decidedly lame reasons why he wouldn’t get married, which kind of annoyed me. Lisa’s impetuousness bordered on stupidity once or twice, putting her in unnecessary dire straits. And unfortunately, the identity of the suitor was really obvious from early on. Overall though, I did enjoy the book. Lynsay Sands injects humor into her romances, which I like. And the sex was good. I also liked that Sands managed to ultimately tie in the dangerous “suitor” part of the storyline with the plots of the previous books.

We do get our happy ending –and a satisfying conclusion to the series. 3 1/2 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
The Husband Hunt
by Lynsay Sands
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Avon

Review: The Heiress

I really liked The Countess.  But I can’t say I liked it so much that I wanted to read huge chunks of it a second time.  It pains me to speak poorly of The Heiress, because I really did enjoy the parts that were new. Unfortunately, I can’t ignore how much of this book was a rehash of its predecessor.

The events in the first 2/3 of the book covered the same story as The Countess, only from the perspective of a different couple.  Daniel is best friend to Richard, who in the last book was trying to confront the twin brother who had tried to have him killed and assumed his identity.  That same twin had married Chrissy in Richard’s name, treated her like trash, then was killed.  Suzette is Chrissy’s sister and sets her sights on Daniel as a relationship develops between Chrissy and Richard.

The entire first book is recapped. And frankly, it is done in a way that I think would be confusing for people who have not read The Countess and excruciatingly redundant for those of us who have.  And it’s a shame because the new scenes we see between Suzette and Daniel are fantastic. And the last third of the book is entirely new.  Those parts shine.  I love Suzette, her frankness and her boldness.  I love the way Daniel can appreciate her, despite her differences from the norms of propriety. Their love scenes are very sexy –and I think I would have been bowled over by a book of all new material about the two of them.  Unfortunately, that isn’t what we got.

I’ve been looking forward to a book on Lisa and Robert, but I swear, if I have to go through the events of Dicky’s death and the “mystery” behind it one more time, I might just scream. I’m crossing my fingers that any book we see on them, picks up AFTER this one has left off. 3 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Review: The Countess

Reviewed by Jen

Christianna got a bum-deal when she married Dicky. He made promises of love and devotion, but on the day they got married, he dropped his facade of a white knight. And in the year since, he has been unloving and cruel. He insults her at every turn; has cut her off from society and those she loves. And there is nothing she can do about it.  Until fortune smiles on Chrissy and Dickie drops dead.

It seems Chrissy’s father has some gambling debts he can’t pay off. So she and her sisters Lisa and Suzette hatch a plan to marry Suzette off to get ahold of her dowry. They plan to hide Dicky’s death just long enough to introduce Suzette to society before the family has to go into mourning.  What no one expects is for Dicky to come back from the dead.  Well, not exactly that. Dicky’s name is really George and (up until his death) he has been impersonating his twin brother Richard, who he had thought was dead. Now Richard is back to reclaim his identity and expose his brother. But Dicky/George’s death complicates his plan. So does the existence of Chrissy. She is Richard’s wife on paper and he eventually begins to consider the idea of sliding back into the life his brother has been living, with Chrissy at his side. Of course there are other issues to deal with, like Dicky/George’s murderer and a blackmail scheme, but that’s what makes it all interesting.

The first half of this book had me laughing out loud in parts. I kept telling myself that it was Historical Romance meets Weekend at Bernie’s. There were some very funny moments dealing with the handling of George’s dead body.  There were also some really steamy parts, which were pretty hot.  The romance was sweet and the groundwork was laid well for the sequel featuring Suzette. It’s not deep or historically accurate, but it clearly isn’t meant to be. It’s simply a fun and easy read… good for a little escapism and a surprising number of laughs. 4 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley