The Perfect Rake by Anne Gracie – I’d had this one in my TBR pile for a while and finally got around to reading it. I’ve read one or two by this author before and quite like them. I liked this one even better. I was barely into it when I knew I was going to have to get the next one too. I think what appealed to me so much about this one is besides being quite funny, had a wonderful hero. Gideon is totally and completely smitten with Prudence when he first meets her and just assumes everyone else thinks she is as beautiful as he does. She has 3 younger sisters who are much more beautiful and she just doesn’t “get” that Gideon adores everything about her. What a delightful book this one is
Grade: 4 ½ out of 5
The Perfect Waltz by Anne Gracie – Since I loved the first in the series so much, I was really looking forward to this one. I liked it just a tiny itsy bitsy smudge less that The Perfect Rake. Again she does a wonderful hero. Sebastian is determined to find a wife and ‘mother’ for his two troubled sisters. Although instantly and immediately attracted to Hope, the heroine, he is set on courting another woman who he thinks would be much better for his sisters. This is a heart-warming story and I’m looking forward to the next book coming up.
Grade 4 out of 5
The one quibble I have with these two books and kept the grades from 5 and 4 1/2 are the sex scenes. It’s almost as if they are tacked on at the end of the story just for sex scenes sake. This is a matter I almost feel semi-responsible for. I am one of many readers who will only very very rarely read a book that doesn’t contain some deeper intimacy and then skip it when it shows up. I just wish the author could have blended the scenes in a bit smoother.
The Courtesan by Julia Justiss: This one I enjoyed quite a bit when I read it but that was a few weeks ago now. When I went to write about it, I had to look up what it was about. That’s not good. But on the other hand, when I did look up the storyline, I very quickly remembered it so that’s good. And I remembered why I quite liked it. I think it’s because this is another story of a soldier and a courtesan and although the Gaston books gets a higher grade, this one was quite well done too. Another reason for confusion – the hero’s name is Jack the same as the Ross book. Anyway, our hero Jack – a returning soldier challenges Belle, the mysterious and infamous courtesan to a duel during her regular practice session. When she accidentally injures Jack in a duel, she thinks in order to make it up to him, she must take him back to her place while he recovers. Jack is captivated with Belle and isn’t above “faking it a wee bit in order to stay with the intriguing Belle.
Grade: 3 ½ out of 5
The Mysterious Miss M by Diane Gaston: This book blew me away. I bought it on a whim when I saw it in the store. I had just been reading on a message board how a few readers really liked this one and since it’s a Harlequin Historical and thus somewhat less costly than some other books, I decided to give it a try. It wasn’t until I saw it got a DIK at AAR that I moved it to the top of my TBR pile.
Wowsers! What a good investment that was. I really wasn’t expecting such an emotional read from Harlequin, but this book was awesome! It was rich and deep and thought provoking. Devlin a younger son and soldier, spent some an “evening” with Madeline, a somewhat exclusive prostitute just before he left for battle. When he comes back he once again visits the gambling establishment where he first met Madeline and is given her to settle a debt. Although at the beginning Devlin just uses Madeline like so many other men had, he was caring. And once he has charge of her, her daughter and her servant, he sets out to make amends for his earlier thoughtlessness. This is a truly wonderful story of redemption, of triumph and of acceptance. I highly highly recommend it. It’s well deserving of the DIK it received.
Grade 5 out of 5
Note: I’m going to have to check out Eharlequin. I’ve never visited
there before but starting Jan 9, Diane Gaston is posting daily excerpts of
another story. Even better yet, she has another book coming out from
Harlequins historicals in February, The Wagering Widow, and one in May and she
also writes as Diane Perkins and I have one of those in my TBR pile – Most
Night of Sin by Julia Ross: My goodness can this author write! I’m one of the lucky ones who has her entire backlist. Up until My Dark Prince, although she’s always been able to write well, her first two were a bit uneven. But she has fixed whatever was missing before and every book since then has been a keeper. This one is no exception. Wild Lord Jack is the second son who has spent much of his life wandering around and working undercover for the government. When an artefact accidentally end up in the possession of the heroine – Anne Marsh, the daughter of a minister, Jack is the one who comes to her rescue – taking her away on a journey to his country home. During the journey, Anne is determined to find out all she can about attraction between men and women.
Grade: 4 out of 5
Music of the Night by Lydia Joyce: Now while I didn’t like this one quite as much as her debut, The Veil of Night, I loved the fact it was set in Venice rather than England. Rosario did a most excellent review and summation of this book and everything she says – yes.
Grade: 4 out of 5
A Singular Lady by Megan Frampton: I’m not really a reader of Regencies these days although I did cut my teeth on them so to speak. But since Megan Frampton is such a delightful person, I wanted to be sure to read this one. After all, I “know” the author. Once a read the book, I wondered why I didn’t read more of this genre. This was a delightful first book. Titania is smart, intelligent and has a “plan” after she finds out the heinous thing her father did. Edwin who has secrets of his own is another hero who is “taken” with the heroine after their first meeting. I love this kind of story. And I really enjoyed this foray into Regency England. I loved reading her journal to becoming a published author at AAR and now I love her book.
Grade: 4 out of 5
To the Brink by Cindy Gerard: Moving away from historicals, this was my first 2006 book and just like 2005 started out great with To Die For, this is another very good read to get the year started. Gotta love it when that happens. This is the third in a series about 3 brothers and a sister who after all working for their country in either the special forces or the government are now working for the family private detective business named EDEN. This is Ethan the oldest brothers story. When his former wife Darcy, for whom he never got over, calls him and leaves a message that she is in trouble, he drops everything, goes back into Special Forces mode and does whatever it takes to rescue her from the group of terrorists that have kidnapped her. This is a truly a heart in your throat kind of book. I quite liked the first one To The Limit, was so-so on the second To the Edge, but this one is terrific!. While part of me can see where she might be compared to Suzanne Brockman, this is a good read without the distractions I found that caused me to drop Ms. Brockman as an auto buy. The story focuses almost completely on Ethan and Darcy with just a small little bit on what I presume will be the final brother’s story. Their marriage is told very successfully in a series of flashbacks and you can see why these two people who loved and still do love each other very much didn’t make it. I think this one would stand very well on it’s own without having read the first two in the series. There is a bit on a secondary character who I am sure is destined to be the love interest for Dallas, the third brother, whose history can be a bit rough reading, but since I know this is fiction, I could read it. What a great start this book is to the reading year!
Grade: 5 out of 5
So that's it - the bunch 'o books I've read lately. Now I'm going to have to switch gears for a festival of contemporary books. I know I have some.