Monday, June 20, 2011

Review: Notorious

NotoriousAuthor: Nicola Cornick {site}
Genre: Historical, Romance
Format: Kindle
Published: 19 July 2011
Publisher: Harlequin
Disclosure: Acquired via NetGalley
Series: Yes


When I reached the end of this book, I couldn't help but smile and to say I enjoyed it would be something of an understatement. As a fan of regency romance, I enjoy a well told story that brings the period to life. Cornick certainly succeeds on that stage, this story's quite well told. I will admit to some small degree of discomfort reading this book as it's the fourth book in a series, the first three of which I've not had a chance to read yet. I didn't know when I started it that I was reading out of order, which is generally an issue for me. This series, however, includes a number of stand alone novels revolving around the same family/group. After reading this novel, I'll definitely be seeking out the first three.

Truly, there was very little about Notorious that I didn't like. The characters, James Devlin--or "Dev"--and Susanna Burney are very likable personalities. Dev is dead sexy, as the male lead of a romance should be, and Susanna is enormously sympathetic.  As a couple, they've got sparks and I loved their chemistry from the start. The secondary characters are sweet and terrible, at intervals, and you feel as sorry for some of them as you dislike others. Overall, the people in this book, including Lord Alex and his lovely bride, stars of the first novel in the series, are well devised and unique. Of course, some of them should be, she's been writing about them for four books now.

The plot was well played and quite interesting. I felt the turmoil the characters were feeling, and Susanna's situation is a unique one. I don't think I've come upon anything quite like it. There are moments when I felt an immense sympathy for her, and others when I adored her fire. The one thing I will say that I didn't much care for was the stuff about the children, but even that was sparse enough that it didn't detract from the plot much at all. It was just sprinkled in there, without getting in the way, though children in a romance novel aren't my ideal reading and do nothing to feed my enjoyment. Cornic does it well, however, leading to a situation that is sympathetic without being distracting.

Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis: {via amazon}
When the ton's most notorious heartbreaker…

Dangerously seductive and sinfully beautiful, Susanna Burney is society's most sought after matchbreaker. Paid by wealthy parents to part unsuitable couples, she's never yet failed to accomplish her mission of diverting a groom-to-be. Until her final assignment brings her face-to-face with the man who'd once taught her an intimate lesson in heartache….

Meets London's most disreputable rake…

James Devlin has everything he's always wanted: a title, a rich fiancĂ©e and a place in society. But the woman who's just met his eyes across a crowded ballroom threatens it all. Not because she'd once claimed his heart, or that every sinuous swirl of her ball gown takes his breath away. But because the secrets she carries could cost him everything. To put the past to rest once and for all, Dev just might have to play Susanna at her own wicked game….

Let the seduction begin!
**Review copy acquired free from Harlequin at NetGalley. The review copy was Kindle format and, as an eARC, is subject to change before publication.**

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

WWW Wednesday: No. 2

I am having an amazingly slow week. Everything seems to be coming along just after I'd like it to be. Blog posts at mid-afternoon, rather than mid-morning, for example! So, I thought a meme might be a fun way to spend the afternoon, and as always MizB at Should Be Reading has one to offer. So, here's my contribution to WWW Wednesday...

What are you currently reading?
My current read is The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe (published in 1794). Okay, I wouldn't say I'm currently reading it, more like I just moved it to the top of my to-be-read pile and will start it this afternoon. It's one of the books upon which I intend to base my thesis, so I need to get after it! Today's as good a day as any.
I'm also going to start reading The Harlot by Saskia Walker, for those times when I really need a break from the dense academic reading involved in digesting something like Udolpho. Besides, I love the cover!
What did you recently finish reading?
I just finished Kasey Michaels' The Taming of the Rake.  I really quite liked it, the review is coming soon. I will say, if you really enjoy regency, and you've read and enjoyed Kasey Michaels novels, you'll like this book. The expected publication date for this book is July 26th, but you can read an excerpt at Kasey Michaels' website if you're interested.
clermontxl What do you think you'll read next?
Next up is definitely Clermont by Regina Maria Roche (published 1798).  One of the horrid novels suggested by Isabella Thorpe in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, Clermont is both one of the classical gothic novels, and was written by a contemporary of Ann Radcliffe, the first female Gothic. If you hadn't guessed already, this book is also on of the novels for my thesis.
collidecover Also...
I don't normally read contemporary romance--I normally stick to regency romance--but I couldn't resist this one. I love, love, love the cover! So, on the weight of the cover and the description on NetGalley, I'm going to give this one a go. This is going to be my reading vacation from Clermont, should I need one. Sometimes, I just need a fun read to break away with.
All right, so there it is. Better late than never, I suppose. I really need to step it up. I don't know what's going on this week, but maybe next week will be better. No, next week will be better since I'm going to a book signing! For now, adieu!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: No. 6

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
It's summer and I'm participating in the 2011 Summer Romance Challenge, so like last week, this week's teaser will be coming from a romance novel! I'm currently reading The Taming of the Rake* by Kasey Michaels and I'm enjoying it. I've not had as much time to read lately as usual, or at least not my usual reading, as I'm embarking this week on researching and writing my thesis introduction, as well as studying for my comprehensive exams. Ah grad school, can't even escape it in the summer! So, without further ado...


"I'll take that as a yes," Beau said, looking longingly at the wine decanter. "How long before he misses you and comes racing hotfoot over here, brandishing a pistol, and demanding I present myself?"

Chelsea glanced assessingly at the mantel clock. "We should probably be going."
*Expected publication date for this novel is July 26th. This tiny excerpt comes from the eARC and is subject to change before publication. Review forthcoming.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

On My Wishlist: No. 5

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. Post the books you're dying to have but haven't gotten yet, head over to Book Chick City, add your name to the linky and you're off!

There are so many books on my wishlist, it's not funny. If I managed to have them all, my TBR list would be even more unmanageable than it is right now. Last week, I had a series on my wishlist. This week, another series! Since I'm a sucker for a good romance, particular regency, here's this week's On My Wishlist...




I saw these three books on I'm Loving Books and Sarah seemed to enjoy them, so I put them on my wishlist. I love the titles and the covers, and the plots seem like something right up my alley.  I'm going to be looking to get them in the next few weeks for my Kindle. Can't wait to read them!

So tell me, what's on your wishlist?!

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Cute Little Book for Girls Who Game

While out and about with my husband today, we dropped into the Hastings. For those who might not know, a Hastings is a media store--books, movies, music, etc. It's not exactly a book store, but it suffices in the absence of one. While we were there, we wandered over to the gaming books and while my husband browsed books for Dungeons & Dragons, and World of Darkness, I happened upon this...


Given that I've been a gamer for upwards of 12 years, a beginner's guide isn't really something I need anymore, but this book is so cute that I couldn't resist! It's a short guide for girls who game, particularly those who play Dungeons & Dragons, as it was published by Wizards of the Coast, the producers of D&D. The inside is white, black, and pink and has little tidbits of advice for girls playing in a world ruled by boys. This picture really doesn't do the cover justice, but it's the best one I could find. If you're a girl who games, you might find this cute little book to be worth a look!

Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday - June 3

Book Blogger Hop
It's Friday and that means blog hops!  Until now, I've only been participating in Follow Friday, but seeing the Book Blogger Hop buttons all over the web has inspired me to join the fun! Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Crazy-for-Books and is a way to meet new people and get to know everyone a bit better. Just go to her site, get the button, answer the question, and put your info in the linky, easy as that!

This week's question: Share your favorite post from the last month and tell us why it’s close to your heart!
I think my favorite post from May was my Reflection: YA Lit post. I enjoyed discussing the evolution of YA lit, which has become something quite close to my heart as I read a heck of a lot of YA lit now a days, even though I'm in my early thirties. If you haven't read it, go check it out and tell me what you think, I'm quite proud of it!

Follow Friday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee's View, as most of you know. The object is to follow the weekly blogger, answer the weekly question, and link up with others through the linky on Parajunkee's site.

This week's featured blogger is Amy from Backseat Reader. Go, check her out and say hello!

This week's question: What are you doing to prepare for an upcoming zombie apocalypse and/or the return of Mel Gibson to the silver screen? (Both of which could be terrifying.)
Let's see, to prepare for the zombie apocalypse I'm stocking up on Twinkies! I have it on good authority (does Woody Harrelson count as "good authority"?) that Twinkies can survive anything, and really, who can resist that spongy golden cake and cream filling? So, yes, Twinkies.  Oh, and I've just learned from this week's featured blogger, Amy, that the CDC has guidelines, so I'm taking them under advisement... but definitely Twinkies.
As for Mel Gibson... there is no way to prepare for that. There just isn't.  I think I'd prefer the zombies!
This week's questions were particularly fun and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's responses. Have a lovely Friday!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Review: Dangerous Lord, Innocent Governess

DLIGAuthor: Christine Merrill {site}
Genre: Regency Romance
Format: Kindle
Published: 1 July 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Historical
Disclosure: Acquired via NetGalley
Series: No

Synopsis: {via harlequin}
Daphne Collingham is masquerading as a governess in Lord Timothy Colton's home— determined to discover if he is responsible for her beloved cousin's death. She's prepared to uncover secrets and scandal, but the biggest revelation is the way she feels under the lord's dark gaze….

Lord Colton is suspicious of the alluring new governess—and with the furor surrounding him he must control his passion. But a man has his limits, and the delectable Miss Collingham is pure temptation….

I'm a sucker for regency romance, so when I saw this book I knew I had to read it. I love the title, which speaks quite well to what happens to be happening in the book... perhaps a little too well. I was also drawn in  by the cover, which is quite lovely. I'm a sucker for a good cover and Harlequin seems to know exactly what they're doing with their quite compelling covers! I mean, who wouldn't want to go to work for him?! The story, however, didn't completely draw me in for quite a long time. So, here's what I liked and what I didn't so much like.

The Pros:

Lord Timothy Colton. When I couldn't connect with this book at first, I kept reading because I could connect with him. I really liked him. I'm a sucker for the brooding, dark, tormented soul male leads and he's got those things. He's also got quite a good reason to be so moody, yet he's more than he seems at first and I liked that. He has depth and is charming despite himself. Some of the gestures he makes in the book, I won't say what they are and give them away, are really sweet and thoughtful. He's a man women want, certainly.

The resolution. I thought the book worked itself out well. The end was appropriate without going overboard. All of the loose ends were tied up neatly and this story worked out just the way I like my regency romance to work out. It fit the formula, which is exactly what I want in a regency romance. Go away from the formula too much and you've jumped the rails on regency.

The Cons:

The pacing. This story was quite awkwardly paced. It dragged on and on until anything of consequence happened. Once she finally got to something really interesting, I was about about 50%. A book needs to take off much quicker than that to keep me reading, yet I stuck with this one for reasons stated above. Once things started happening, and the book picked up, they kept moving at a reasonable pace and kept my interest. I only wish that it could have done so since the beginning.

The frame. By this, I mean I didn't much care for the way Daphne found her way into the household. There was too much time being a governess and not enough time working out the mystery. For me, a governess tale can be a governess tale without spending 50% of the book talking about children studying. This book did just that, it talked overly much about children studying and how bad a governess Daphne is. I don't see that it was all that significant, except where little Sophie is concerned. Also, when you spend too much time talking about children in a romance novel, it sort of shatters the sexy factor. I'm sorry, but it does!

The Verdict:

It was okay. Not fantastic, not horrible... just okay. By the end, I was smiling, but I spent a lot of time wondering when this story was going to go somewhere and doing so got my mind to wandering away from what was happening in the book, which for a long time was nothing. The characters were all unique and Merrill clearly has a strong voice. Unfortunately, the use of too many coordinating conjunctions (and, but) at the beginning of sentences was distracting at best. Sometimes, it's fine to start a sentence with and, but it shouldn't be done regularly, as it's a way to produce emphasis. Emphasis too frequently emphasized fails to be emphasis anymore. It quite bothered the English major in me.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer Reading Challenge 2011

I've been reading quite a lot of romance lately, so when I saw that one of my favorite blogs, Book Chick City, was hosing a Summer Romance challenge, I couldn't resist signing-up. If you're looking for a new challenge, go check it out and sign-up. The goal is to read 8 books over the summer, or 16, if you're looking for a challenge!

I've just gotten a whole bunch of Galley's from Harlequin at NetGalley (Thanks Lisa!), so this challenge's perfect. Here's my summer romance challenge reading list, in no particular order:

  • Dangerous Lord, Innocent Governess by Christine Merrill
  • The Taming of the Rake by Kasey Michaels
  • The Harlot by Saskia Walker
  • Collide by Megan Hart
  • Tell Me More by Janet Mullany
  • Notorious by Nicola Cornick
  • Seduction and Scandal by Charlotte Featherstone
  • By His Majesty's Grace by Jennifer Blake
Wow, I just noticed that most of them are regency romance. I do so love a good regency romance!! Anyhow, once the books are read, I'll post reviews. Oh and did I mention there're prizes? You can post your reviews at Book Chick City's site for a chance to win prizes. Looking forward to seeing your list of summer romance reads!

Cover Love: May

I' Cover Love

As much as I love covers, I couldn't resist this. Cover Love is a monthly meme hosted by Sarah at I'm Loving Books. It's easy to play along, just go to her site, grab the button, make a post discussing your favorite covers from the previous month, then link your post to her site with the linky. Simple as that.

corsetcoverEasily my first and favorite pick of May's covers is Kady Cross's The Girl in the Steel Corset. I loved it from the moment I saw it. Love at first sight, really! It's so beautiful and elegant, and speaks to the book perfectly--which I enjoyed by the way. The girl is quite pretty and it's easy to imagine Finley looking like that. The dress and the way it spreads to the bottom of the page is just fantastic, and I love the peek at the steel corset at her back. Perfect! I even like the faint gears in the backdrop. Lovely!

Check out my review!

narcise This cover for Colleen Gleason's The Vampire Narcise is not only one of my favorites from the books I reviewed during May, it's one of my favorites period. I love it. I think it's probably the cover with the elegant floral swirls that got me. The woman on the cover is remarkably beautiful and very much the way Narcise might appear. Anyhow, the story was fantastic and I loved it. Next to Dimitri, it was my favorite of the trilogy and worth a read.

Check out my review!


This cover is so pretty, how could you not love it?! I really enjoyed the book and feel like the cover did a quite adequate job of representing what happens within. Most of all, I really like the greenery, the girl's gown and sandals, and the typography. The greek look to the letters is a lovely touch. Overall, it has a very mythic feel.  If I wrote a book playing on a greek myth, I would love for it to have this cover! It's beautiful without being distracting or overwhelming, as some cover's can be.

Check out my review!

So now that you've seen mine, go get the button and show us what your favorite covers were from May!!