Knave of Hearts
Author: Elizabeth Boyle
Series: Rhymes with Love #5
Tags: Historical Romance, regency romance, twins!, not-really-ne'er-do-well, men in drag!, bet, forthright female, bad dancer, pigmallion, thief, conmen, gamblers
That's what I keep thinking when trying to describe how I feel about this book. And then I realize that sounds weird, like some English gentleman catchphrase, so I keep going.
By Jove! Cracking! Tip top! Cheerio! Ra-ther!
You know, I didn't think I would like this book, and I have to say I am pleasantly surprised. I read The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane, which I LOVED (recluses always get my vote, anytime), and I was more than a little bitter that the less interesting twin and the ne'er-do-well friend were going to be the focus of the next book. I don't usually like ne'er-do-wells; they are usually too smooth talking and cheerful for my tastes. However, I ended up liking Tuck! And Livinia, the less interesting twin, wasn't so bad either.
Tuck, a not-really-ne'er-do-well, makes a drunken bet with the series villain that the Talbet twins will become the most sought after ladies of the ton in two weeks. He is partially responsible for their downfall, having forced Livinia into dancing, though she is an awful dancer. Together, they toppled over many fellow dancers, making the snootiest dog pile to have ever been assembled. He starts to hang out with her to try to teach her to dance, etc, and...you know where this is going.
It's just silly and fun and delightful. Though this is an opposites attract situation (he's a rake, and she's obsessed with being proper), I didn't feel like they were shoehorned into loving one another. He's not really a rake, after all (they almost never are), and once she works out her mom stuff, she'll get over being overly proper. You get a glimpse into their future whenever Livinia has the urge to straighten his collar or sew on his button. He's just the sort of person who would enjoy being taken care of like that.
Also, he manages to loosen her up. He calls her Livvie, and she realizes she has never had a nickname before. It is a strange and wonderful experience for her.
Oh! And I almost forgot the excellent side characters! Turns out Tuck's mom is an accomplished thief and grifter. She and her uncle have traveled the world gambling, conning, stealing. They are excellent fun, and teach the oh-so-proper Livinia some oh-so-improper tricks. I was sad to see them go. If only Tuck had a brother! They could show up in the next book.
Overall, very enjoyable. Makes me want to read Viscount that Lives Down the Lane again. Perhaps I shall.
It looks like I am up to date on all of the Rhymes with Love series, and I've read one other Boyle. I generally like her writing. I am toying with putting her on my Authors to Watch For list. I wish others of her books were in OverDrive.
The Day of the Duchess
Author: Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal and Scoundrel #3
Tags: historical romance, regency romance, estranged marriage, American!, house party, contest for a husband, runaway wife, singer, tavern owner, parliament, divorce
Okay, fellas. Listen up. Feeling that your wife and you have grown apart? Is she refusing to talk to you and instead asking for a divorce? Here's how you win her back:
- Make her live with you in close quarters
- By arranging for her to host a party at your house
- Where she will judge the other house guests
- (All of them unmarried ladies
- Hoping to be the wife #2),
- To decide which would be the most suitable next wife for you
- When really you just want to continue to be married to her.
- And after 6 weeks of this farce
- Where you waste the time of the entire house party
- She will immediately fall back in love with you and
- BOOM! Happy marriage again. Everyone goes home happy. And all without you ever saying I love you or I'm sorry.
So, this was his plan.
It would be exhausting to live in Romance Land World, don't you think?
Instead of trying to talk something out, you have to go through this dance of ever increasing absurd conventions and trickery in order to get the same goal. And then everything goes wrong, your weird plan goes awry, you have your ass handed to you, and you have to make up another ridiculous plan as a "grand gesture."
This story would have not even happened if he was like, "I'm sorry I was an ass. The truth is I love you."
The conflict was just that simple. It was a bit overblown. Their reactions to things seemed way too melodrama for my liking.
This dude, the hero, goes around smooching our heroine for weeks, and is SO DISAPPOINTED in her when she sets them up to be caught in the act. How dare she! Never mind that he was acting rakish and sneaky the whole time. Never mind that his character even says he wants to ruin her so she'll have to marry him.
No love for this guy.
It doesn't help that I am becoming overly familiar with MacLean's writing style.
I heard once that you can tell bad writing when there is a surplus of adjectives doing some telling and not showing. For instance, "He coldly and distractedly said."
So how do you get around that?
Not by using less adjectives (GASP!), but by flipping the adjectives to the end of the sentence!
He said, cold and distracted.
He laughed, long and low.
Is normal MacLean.
He kissed her, hard and luxurious and resplendent.
When she wants to emphasize something.
Or, if it's extra special, she goes off into some metaphysical bullshit:
He pressed his lips to hers, rough and sweet and kind and cruel, all the things he was and all the things he wasn't as the stars fell from the sky and burst into small fairies.
Yep. I got tired of that.
Hrm, I may have to break up with MacLean before I need to break up with her. I don't want to get myself into another Eloisa James situation.
Author: Lynsay Sands
Tags: Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Pirates!, lady captain, kidnapping!, pigmallion, rag tag crew, marry to inherit
I think the best part of reading this was having a conversation about the serious books other people are reading, and then me saying "I'm reading a book called Lady Pirate! GUESS WHAT IT'S ABOUT!"
It's about a pirate who's a lady.
God, you're slow.
Charming, lighthearted, silly, funny. What you can expect from a good Lynsay Sands.
Vallory has been captain of a pirate ship (privateer, technically) for the past five years. Dressed as a boy, she SOMEHOW manages to hide her womanlihood from the entire crew for most of her life. Her brother dies and asks her to carry on his plan of making enough money to support the estate they inherited. To her dismay, once she finally goes back to claim it, she finds she has to marry and be pregnant within the next 9 months.
So surly, swashbuckling Vallory has to try her hand at her first London Season.
Vallory is different from other Sands heroines, since she is so cantankerous. She is always frowning, ordering, threatening. The entire avuncular crew pull her in and out of scrapes as she navigates through dresses, dancing, flirting, courting, and other treachery to be found during the Season.
Daniel, the hero, is a smooth talking aristocrat who just hangs about a bunch.
The best part about the book is the hijinks she and her crew get up to. There's really not that much to look forward to in the love department.
Also, fair warning: though it is about a pirate that's a lady, we hardly see any pirating at all. Just an intro and then it's straight into the Season.
If I had cared, I would be disappointed. But I'm not in the Adventure category! I'm in romance, damnit!
The time period is so incredibly -ish. There's no mention of Napoleon or war, though privateering seems to be all the rage. The royalty in charge is just The King. She wears wigs and face paint, though some people don't wear wigs (?), including Daniel, and yet they dance a waltz together?! Holy historical inaccuracies, Batman!
We all know that wigs went out of style during the Napoleonic Wars, but the waltz was still new and scandalous until at least the 1820s.
We all know that.
Sands also happens to write highlander novels, which are as close to science fiction as you can get, so it make sense that she makes some pretty broad strokes in the regency romance genre.