Book Review: Let It Be Me by Kate Noble And Miss Wonderful by Loretta Chase

Book: Let It Be Me by Kate Noble

Published April 2013 by Berkley Sensation|308 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: The Blue Raven #5

Genre: Adult Romance/Historical Romance

London weather is chilly—and the social scene even more so. Luckily, Bridget Forrester is just getting warmed up… Bridget longs to meet a gentleman who doesn’t mention her beautiful sister upon shaking her hand. But since being branded a shrew after a disastrous social season, Bridget knows she’s lucky to even have a man come near her. It’s enough to make a lady flee the country…

So Bridget heads to Venice for music lessons with the renowned Italian composer Vincenzo Carpenini, with whom she’s been corresponding. But not only is Carpenini not expecting her, he doesn’t even remember her! His friend, theater owner Oliver Merrick, does, though. And one look into her tantalizing green eyes has him cursing his impulsive letter-writing, which brought her across the continent. Yet before Merrick can apologize, Carpenini has ordered her away.

Little does either man know that they will soon be embroiled in a wager that will require the beautiful Miss Forrester’s help—or that there’ll be far more at stake in this gamble than money…

I liked Let It Be Me!  It did start off slow, I didn’t like it nearly as much as the first book in the series (which I did read ages and ages ago, though I don’t think there are a lot of connections between the two).

I did like Merrick and Bridget together, though there was a point when I thought that maybe she would end with Carpenini.  I’m not sure why I thought that, since Merrick was why Bridget ended up in Italy in a musical wager in the first place.  And while I liked them together, I didn’t love them together.  Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for romance when I read this book.

It started off slow, but it did pick up when Bridget started her lessons with Carpenini.  I liked that she liked music, and the musical competition was interesting, but it felt like the romance between Bridget and Merrick took a backseat to the musical aspects of the book.  At the same time, I liked that things did move slowly between them (a little bit more than what I would have thought).  But…I also found myself wanting more moments between them.  They felt few and far between in this book.

My Rating: 3 stars.  I liked Let It Be Me, and I liked Merrick and Bridget together…I just wish their romance was as important as the music.

Book: Miss Wonderful by Loretta Chase

Published March 2004 by Berkley Sensation|352 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: Carsington Brothers #1

Genre: Adult Romance/Adult Historical Romance

Due to his history of expensive romantic entanglements, Alistair Carsington now has six months to find either a useful occupation or a wealthy heiress to wed. To prove he is not an idle fop only concerned with sartorial pleasures, Alistair agrees to help his old friend, Lord Gordmor, by traveling to the wilds of Derbyshire to convince Gordmor’s neighbors to support the nobleman’s proposal to build a canal.

Upon arriving, Alistair, a famous war hero and eligible bachelor, finds everyone couldn’t be nicer, everyone except for respectable, practical, spinsterish Mirabel Oldridge. The last thing Mirabel wants is for her tranquil little corner of England to be destroyed by a noisy, nasty canal, and she is prepared to use every weapon at her disposal–including her disheveled coiffure and unstylish wardrobe–to stop Alistair.

I’ve read a few of Loretta Chase’s books, and really liked them, so I figured I’d read this one.  It has been sitting on my bookshelf for quite some time, and it seemed like it was a good time to actually read it.

Maybe I wasn’t in the best mood for romance, because this one was just okay.  I felt like there was some chemistry between Mirabel and Alistair, but not enough to care or feel fully invested in their relationship.  They are definitely at odds in Miss Wonderful, but that clearly isn’t a barrier for them.  They managed to work it out, but like I said, I had a hard time with completely caring about their romance.

Maybe it’s because I felt like the book was more about them fighting over the canal, and how he wants it built, while Mirabel doesn’t.  I get why, for both of them, but I feel like it was more about their own histories then them.  I did like Mirabel, though, and Alistair was just okay.

I did like that Mirabel was 31- for some reason, that seems old in the world of romance.  It’s not (because then I’d be old, and I don’t feel old at all), but it worked really well, and she and Alistair, because of their different life experiences, do match up well.  They seem to be on pretty even footing, which was nice to see, because that doesn’t always seem to be the case.

My Rating: 2 stars.  It’s not my favorite Loretta Chase book, and I had a hard time getting into it, but it wasn’t horrible.

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Book Review Round-Up: Boxers, One Night For Love And City Of Night

I have quite a few books I want to talk about, so I figured I share some quick thoughts on some of them!

boxers-coverBook #1: Boxers by Gene Luen Yang

Published September 2013 by First Second|325 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Boxers And Saints #1

Genre: Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction

What It’s About: China, 1898. Bands of foreign missionaries and soldiers roam the countryside, bullying and robbing Chinese peasants.

Little Bao has had enough. Harnessing the powers of ancient Chinese gods, he recruits an army of Boxers–commoners trained in kung fu–who fight to free China from “foreign devils.”

Against all odds, this grass-roots rebellion is violently successful. But nothing is simple. Little Bao is fighting for the glory of China, but at what cost? So many are dying, including thousands of “secondary devils”–Chinese citizens who have converted to Christianity.

What I Thought: I liked it, but not as much as I liked Saints.  I think reading Boxers before Saints will help you understand what’s going on in Saints, because it goes into greater detail about what the Boxer Rebellion actually was. I really like the idea of history being told in the form of a graphic novel.  It’s been a while since I’ve read it (over a month), and now I’m finding that I’m having a hard time talking about the book and what I thought about it.  It’s definitely worth reading, though, and it does make me want to learn more about it. Whether I actually do so remains to be seen, but maybe one day…

It is a good introduction to the subject, though, and I think if you’re new to graphic novels (like I am), Boxers (and Saints) is a really good place to start.  I also liked seeing the other side of the story, and that there are many sides to one event.

My Rating: 3 stars.  Mostly because it’s a good introduction to the Boxer Rebellion and the format makes it different. But it also gets 3 stars because I don’t remember enough to give it a higher rating.

one-night-for-love-coverBook #2: One Night For Love by Mary Balogh

Published January 2012 (originally published 1999) by Dell|384 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Bedwyn Saga #0.5

Genre: Adult Romance, Adult Historical Romance

What It’s About: One reckless man…One passionate woman.

Enter the world of Mary Balogh—the glittering ballrooms and vast country estates of Regency-era England, where romance, with all its mystery, magic, and surprises, comes vibrantly alive.

It was a perfect morning in May…

Neville Wyatt, Earl of Kilbourne, awaited his bride at the altar—when a ragged beggar woman raced down the aisle instead. The cream of the ton saw him stare, shocked, then declare that this was his wife! One night of passion was all he remembered as he beheld Lily, the woman he’d wed, loved, and lost on the battlefield in Portugal. Now he said he’d honor his commitment to her—regardless of the gulf that lay between them.

Then Lily spoke her mind…

She said she wanted only to start a new life—wanted only a husband who truly loved her. She had to leave him to learn how to meet his world on her terms. So Lily agreed to earn her keep as his aunt’s companion and study the genteel arts. Soon she was the toast of the ton, every inch a countess fit for the earl, who vowed to prove to his remarkable wife that what he felt for her was far more than desire, that what he wanted from her was much more than…One Night for Love.

What I Thought: This is another one I don’t remember a lot about.  I vaguely remember liking it, but not being super-into the romance.  I do remember not being surprised by the fact that she wasn’t really dead, and that he never told anyone about it.  Other than that, nothing stands out.

My Rating: 2 stars- mostly because I remember nothing, and I don’t remember enough to dislike it, but I also don’t remember enough to actually like it.

city-of-night-coverBook #3: City Of Night by John Rechy

Published January 1994 (originally published 1963) by Grove Press|400 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: None

Genre: Adult Fiction

What It’s About: When John Rechy’s explosive first novel, City of Night, was first published in 1963, it became a national bestseller and ushered in a new era of gay fiction. Bold and inventive in his account of the urban underworld of male prostitution, Rechy is equally unflinching in his portrayal of one hustling “Youngman” and his restless search for self-knowledge. As the narrator careens from El Paso to Times Square, from Pershing Square to the French Quarter, we get an unforgettable look at a neon-lit life on the edge. Said James Baldwin of the author, “Rechy is the most arresting young writer I’ve read in a very long time. His tone rings absolutely true, is absolutely his own; and he has the kind of discipline which allows him a rare and beautiful reckless.”

What I Thought: This was a really hard book to get through, and I really struggled with it.  I can see why it was such an important book when it was published, considering what the book is about.  But I had a hard time with it, and it felt really dry.  I know it’s loosely autobiographical, and it really read that way.  It’s not a bad thing, but it just didn’t work for me.

It is a glimpse into what life was like during that time, but it seemed to drag on.  It also seemed really repetitive, and I’m sort of doubting why I took the time to finish the book.  It just seemed like an endless cycle of the same behavior for the main character, but I suppose it goes with the lifestyle that the character is living.

My Rating: 2 stars.  It’s definitely not the book for me, and it was a struggle for me to get through but I can see why it gets a lot of praise.

Book Review: Romancing The Duke by Tessa Dare

Romancing The Duke CoverBook: Romancing The Duke by Tessa Dare

Published May 2014 by Avon|370 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Castles Ever After #1

Genre: Adult Romance/Historical Romance

Blog Graphic-What It's About

In the first in Tessa Dare’s captivating Castles Ever After series, a mysterious fortress is the setting for an unlikely love…

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.

Ugly duckling turned swan?
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and…Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

Blog Graphic- What I Thought

I was randomly in the mood for romance, so I picked this one up from the library.  I liked it, but not as much as I thought I would, especially since the couple of romance blogs I read really seem to like Tessa Dare.

It did make me smile, though, and I was left wanting to believe that true love and fairy tales exist in real life. Which they do, for some people, and I liked the hopeful feeling that fairy tales are real.

I loved the historical fanboys/fangirls in the book.  That was fun and unexpected, but it’s a good fun and unexpected, and it made me laugh.  But I also liked that Izzy had to act a certain way because of it, and I liked that Ransom hated that she thought she had to live up to their expectations.  I felt for her, because life has not been easy for her, and yet, people want her to remain the sweet, innocent girl that they think she is.  She has fears but she deals with them, and she might not seem like she’s strong, but she is.

And I believed in her and Ransom, even though they are complete opposites, because Izzy is hopeful and romantic, where Ransom is more cynical and distrusting.  They really complement each other, and I loved watching them fall in love.  It’s sweet and adorable, and it builds over the course of the book.

And things haven’t been easy for Ransom either, with being engaged but the engagement being broken off, and with his vision not completely working…he’s nicer than he initially seems.  Izzy really brings out the best in him, even when he tries to fight it and pretend like he doesn’t have feelings for her.

Blog Graphic- My Rating

3 stars.  I liked it!  It’s cute and sweet, but I didn’t love it.

Book Review: Some Like It Wicked by Teresa Medeiros

Some Like It Wicked CoverBook: Some Like It Wicked by Teresa Medeiros

Published by July 2008 by Avon|384 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Kincaid Highland #1

Genre: Adult Romance/Historical Romance

Blog Graphic-What It's About

Some like it dangerous . . .

Highland beauty Catriona Kincaid cares nothing for propriety—or even her own safety—when she storms the grounds of Newgate Prison. Determined to return to Scotland and restore her clan’s honor, she seeks the help of Sir Simon Wescott, a disgraced nobleman and notorious rogue. She is prepared to offer him both wealth and freedom, but she never dreams the wicked rake will be bold enough to demand a far more sensual prize.

Some like it seductive . . .

Simon is shocked to discover the tomboy he met long ago has blossomed into a headstrong temptress. Although he’s sworn off his dreams of becoming a hero, he can’t resist playing knight errant to Catriona’s damsel in distress. Both adventure and peril await them at her Highland home, where they will risk their lives to vanquish her enemies . . . and risk their hearts to discover a passion beyond their wildest dreams.

Blog Graphic- What I Thought

Romance is one of those genres I always tell myself I’m going to read more of, and yet, it’s one of those genres I never seem to read a lot of.  Which is weird, because, for the most part, I’ve really liked a lot of the romances I’ve read. Sadly, this wasn’t the case for Some Like It Wicked, which turned out to be okay for me.

Catriona definitely is what I’d call strong.  She’s very determined to make sure the family name and the family land is okay, and she’s willing to do what she has to in order to get it back.  She was naive about some things (particularly in regards to Simon), but everything worked out in the end, and it wasn’t actually annoying.  In fact, it made sense for Catriona herself.  She wasn’t as wild and independent as I thought she’d be, but she did seem to be pretty independent by the end of the book.

And Simon…what can I say about Simon?  He definitely redeemed himself by the end of the book, and I actually liked Simon a lot more than I thought, especially where Cat was concerned.

But them together?  I liked them together, but only a little.  They certainly balance each other out, but I didn’t quite feel them as a couple.  They definitely had chemistry, and I wanted to love them together, but I just didn’t.

And it wasn’t as focused on romance as I thought it would be.  It was definitely there, but it felt like it was more about Catriona saving her family than anything else.  It ended super-happy- which is fine, and I pretty much expected that- but…I don’t know, I just wasn’t enthused with the super-happy ending.

Blog Graphic- My Rating

2 stars.  I don’t have much to say about Some Like It Wicked.  I get why people really like it/love it but it’s not one of my favorites.  I’d definitely give another one of her books a try, but not anytime soon.