Three Quinns and a Guillory: weddings, spies, gothic novels, fake significant others, mistaken identities, and heinous lack of communication.
Ten Things I Love About You
Author: Julia Quin
Series: Bevelstoke #3
Tags: Regency, PTSD, saved from a bad marriage with marriage, charming man with hidden serious side, secret author, lists!
Awwwwww! Sebastian!!! <3<3<3
He was so sweet and goofy.
I think this was my favorite Quinn so far.
Heroine is destitute and about to marry a lecherous old man. Sebastian is the heir to lecherous old man. He also has PTSD from being a sniper in the war, which was a fun tidbit to give him some more character. But who cares about that because he is an author! He writes ridiculous novels when he has insomnia.
The highlight is definitely Sebastian, his witty conversations with people, and the ridiculous novels. It was light and fun and adorable.
He waited a little too long in telling her he is an author, since it eventually got in the way. That she figured it out on her own, however, is a suspension of disbelief I am willing to take, since it was soo cute! It was far fetched, but I’m willing to indulge because, as one who tenuously considers herself a writer, it would be THE BEST to be recognized by writing style.
Mustache-twisting villainy! Witty repartee! And, equally fun, the ongoing gag that both main characters write top ten lists in their heads.
I wanted a little more from the heroine, to be honest, since I loved the hero so much. She kept meaning to read one of his books but was only half way through by the end of the novel. This makes me more than a little distressed because HAVE YOU EVER HAD ANYONE READ A BOOK RECOMMENDATION?!?
Handing out book recs is just practicing masochism. Chances are they will not read the book, and if they read the book, chances are they will not like it, and if they do like it, chances are they won’t like it as much as you.
I have only once or twice in my life been able to receive the joy that is someone reading a book rec of mine and liking it.
The rest of the book recs I have given — and there have been many, despite the success rate — have just left me on tender hooks, waiting to hear, either way: if they will read it or not. And then comes the moment, “can I just have my damn book back??”
I have a very hard time believing that she finished the book, which perhaps Sebastian is okay with, but I am NOT.
It would have been a bit more fun if:
- she was a big fan
- she hated them
- she was a secret admirer
- she wrote her own novels
- she edited his novels
- she was a competing author
- she finished them all and had something to say about them
- they had a great conversation about reading silly things for fun
- she grew to love them because she grew to love him
I don’t know, SOMETHING.
But, whatever, it was fun!
I own the book in paper form. Perhaps I shall read it with my eyes some day!
Author: Julia Quinn
Series: Splendid Trilogy #3
Tags: Hoyden, Regency, estate manager, woman wearing breeches
Rating: Yay…uh, what?
This is the third book of the first series Quinn published. I had to wait for a bit for it to be available on audiobook.
I felt like the Splendid was more of a proto-romance. It was very predictable, and a little clunky, but generally fun. You could tell she had some good ideas and writing chops, but it wasn’t quite there yet. Dancing at Midnight was remarkably better, but still a little clunky.
When I started reading Minx, I was like, okay, here she is. This is Quinn coming into her own.
The characters were fun and engaging, the story was all sorts of catnip, and you had fun watching the characters dance around each other.
Dunford was a side character in both of the previous romances, and I was excited to see him get his own story. He was a friend (a true friend!) of Belle, and was always the laid back, wry wit in the background.
What’s more, he was NICE, and cared about his friends, and people around him.
So, he gets a surprise barony, and meets his future wife while she is covered in mud and wearing breeches. Off to a great start!
And then something went sideways…
Who would have thought that Dunford would be an angsty hero? Who could have guessed that?!? Dunford went from sweet and gracious, wry and flippant, to downright asshole. He is confused with his feelings for her, and becomes surprisingly overbearing. He thinks that she is using him and he gets nasty, lashing out at her verbally. And then the anger-sex. Excuse me, are we in a vampire novel?? What book did I pick up again? How did we go from traipsing the countryside and buying hats to angsty anger-sex?
The second half of the book feels like a different book entirely. She finds out that he has/had a mistress, and instead of confronting him, like a forthright, breeches-wearing, hoydenish estate manager, she does the one thing that only sounds sensible in a romance novel. She tries to get him to break off the engagement by penning a letter to an imaginary friend telling her that she is pretending to love him so that she can have his estate.
This is one of those times where a heroine needs a best friend to bounce ideas off of.
Best friend: “Omg, he has a mistress?!? What are you going to do?”
Heroine: “The only thing I can do…”
BF: “Talk to hi-”
H: “-try to get him to break off the engagement by penning a letter to an imaginary friend telling her that I am pretending to love him so that I can have his estate, and slip it to him by ‘accident’ in a supposed letter delivery mix-up.” *Sigh* “It is the only way.”
You see, fellas? This is why we talk about our relationship shit to friends! Otherwise, y’all would be inundated with half-baked plans to preempt your supposed break up through underhanded, deceptive means.
Ugh, I had no fucks for this secondary plot line. It’s a like the book wasn’t long enough so Quinn ran with a not-so-great time filler. The letter plan was stupid, the way they didn’t talk to each other was stupid, Dunford’s angstyiness was stupid, the final outburst/reveal was stupid. Kinda ruined the whole story, to be honest. And if he wasn’t such a coward, running away almost immediately, she probably would have burst forth with the truth in a matter of hours. It didn’t take her that long once they were finally in a room together.
Possibly worst than that, the heroine, who started out as a brazen hoyden breeches wearing manager, had completely lost her confidence and sense of self by going to London. She was so confused in her position by the end of it. I wish it wasn’t so.
Moral of the story: get some feedback from friends before you act on your relationship plans, and listen to them when they say, “that’s fucking stupid. Just go talk to him, already.”
Four Weddings and a Sixpence
Author: Julia Quinn, Elizabeth Boyle, Laura Lee Ghurke, Stephanie Sloane
Tags: Anthology, Regency, pretend fiance, childhood sweethearts, stick-in-the-mud
This was fun!
The one I liked the least was Laura Lee Ghurke’s Something Blue. The subject matter – an ex-fiance is trying to find enough evidence to convict her father of war crimes – seemed too serious for the format, and not fully fleshed out. We all know that anthologies are fluffiest of fluff. They have to be in their format. We are coming to the pages expecting it, so why shoehorn a serious plot in there? A family torn apart is much too serious.
I also didn’t like how she handled the subject matter. We were just kind of rushed to the ending. I feel like a plot line that involves a problematic parent can only end a handful of ways:
- Fluffy: the parent inexplicably learns their lesson and apologizes for everything.
- Sort of fluffy: the parent gets appropriate comeuppance, and, while being carted off to prison or on the brink of death, apologizes for everything.
- Middle: the love interest hides the misdeeds of the parent from the daughter/son to allow them to keep their faith in humanity.
- Serious: the parent doesn’t learn their lesson, doesn’t apologize, and the daughter/son has to come to terms with the imperfect human that their parents are, thereby destroying their idolatry of the parent.
- Serious and hard truth: the parent doesn’t learn their lesson, doesn’t apologize, and doesn’t get any comeuppance because the world doesn’t guarantee that all wrongs be righted, God kind of doesn’t exist, etc. etc.
Strangely, it was the hard truth that happened. The father ran away, didn’t apologize for his actions, and didn’t get punished.
I feel like some fleshing out of the dad was in order, or, if he was to stay flat, to give us a appropriately fluffy ending.
Ah, well. I don’t like Laura Lee Ghurke anyway.
But Elizabeth Boyle’s story was about a pretend fiance! Man, I LOVE those stories! Even better, the guy pretending was the stick-in-the-mud brother, not the rakish brother that would have had to be reformed.
And Julia Quinn’s story was pretty great too. She has a cutesy way of writing, and I recognized it immediately.
The Wedding Date
Author: Jasmine Guillory
Tags: contemporary, “doesn’t date,” interracial couple, elevator meetcute
Mostly I didn’t like it because
a) They basic.
b) He was a jock just oozing privilege out of his pores
and c) I am incredibly bitter and jaded from dating for far too long that I cannot stomach a storyline with a man whose commitment phobia is fixed at the end. What is she doing with him!? What is wrong with her?! Someone say they “don’t do girlfriends” and you need to run far, far away.
Ilana’s mom was our guest host! Check it out!
On the Radar
Some more Quinns
Lots of Shelly Laurenstons
Grave Witch and Grave Dance by Kalayna Price
Master of Ecstasy by Nina Bangs