Author: Lisa Kleypas

Joint Review: Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

Posted April 24, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 6 Comments

Joint Review: Devil in Spring by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #3
Also in this series: Cold-Hearted Rake
Published by Avon Romance
Publication Date: February 21 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 288
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four-half-stars

An eccentric wallflower…

Most debutantes dream of finding a husband. Lady Pandora Ravenel has different plans. The ambitious young beauty would much rather stay at home and plot out her new board game business than take part in the London Season. But one night at a glittering society ball, she’s ensnared in a scandal with a wickedly handsome stranger.

A cynical rake…

After years of evading marital traps with ease, Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, has finally been caught-by a rebellious girl who couldn’t be less suitable. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him. But Gabriel finds the high-spirited Pandora irresistible. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her, even if their marriage of convenience turns out to be the devil’s own bargain.

A perilous plot…

After succumbing to Gabriel’s skilled and sensuous persuasion, Pandora agrees to become his bride. But soon she discovers that her entrepreneurial endeavors have accidentally involved her in a dangerous conspiracy-and only her husband can keep her safe. As Gabriel protects her from their unknown adversaries, they realize their devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven...

Holly: It’s been ages since I read a historical romance, but Sybil told me I needed to read Devil in Spring, because it featured Sebastian and Evie’s oldest son (they’re our favorite Kleypas couple). So I read it. Then I told Rowena she had to read it, too, because it was so good. We both ended up reading all three books, and we agree Devil in Spring is the best of the series so far.

Lady Pandora and her twin sister, Cassandra, were basically left alone to run free on their country estate. Their parents really wanted nothing to do with them, and didn’t bother to hire the proper governesses or tutors for them. As a result they’re both a little wild and not at all ready to enter society, despite the fact that they’re 19. After three years of proper tutelage from her step-sister’s very upright foster mother

When Pandora gets caught in a compromising position with Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, she’s devastated. She has no intention of ever marrying. She doesn’t want to give up her independence for a man, especially one with a title and all the duties that accompany it. But she also wants to do what’s best for her family, so she agrees to spend a week with him and his family at their country estate to get to know one another.

For his part, Gabriel knows he has to marry someday, but he has no desire to marry a wild little savage like Pandora. He needs a proper wife who will be an asset to him as the future Duke. Still, honor demands he do the right thing…and the longer he spends with her, the more he wants her, in spite of the way her mind works.

Girl, I loved this book. I loved how unconventional Pandora was, and how Gabriel came to love her quirks in spite of himself.

Rowena: I really enjoyed this one too. I’m glad that St. Vincent’s kid ended up with Pandora because she’s a special one. I knew that I was going to love her the most in this series and that didn’t change after reading her book. If anything, I loved her even more.

Devil in Spring was my favorite book in this series, so far. I loved seeing familiar characters, enjoyed getting to know the new ones and it was even good to see St. Vincent, Sebastian, that is.

I loved that there wasn’t anything about Pandora that Gabriel didn’t love. The way that he wanted to be sure that she knew how special she was to him, no matter how bad her hearing was, how bad her vertigo was, or how independent she wanted to be, none of that mattered to him. She was perfect the way that she was to him and I melted into a puddle of lust for him every time he showed her how much he loved her.

Holly: She is. I meant to add that three years later she wasn’t much more civilized.

I totally cracked up in the beginning when she was trying to convince him he didn’t want to marry her.

“You do not want to marry me, my lord. I would be the worst wife imaginable. I’m forgetful and stubborn, and I can never sit still for more than five minutes. I’m always doing things I shouldn’t. I eavesdrop on other people, I shout and run in public, and I’m a clumsy dancer. And I’ve lowered my character with a great deal of unwholesome reading material.” Pausing to draw breath, she noticed that Lord St. Vincent didn’t appear properly impressed by her list of faults. “Also, my legs are skinny. Like a stork’s.”

Pandora was definitely the best part of this book. I love how unconventional she was. She didn’t think in straight lines and always seemed to be going in 8 different directions. Gabriel was great with her. I like how he was all about keeping her right from the beginning, even though he knew he should want a more proper wife.

Rowena: Okay, yeah they were 19 in the other books.

Yes!! She had me laughing so much throughout the entire series but more so in this book. Gosh, she’s one of those characters that I will remember for a long time. She’s got a distinct personality that I just love to pieces. I will probably incorporate some of her made up words into my vocabulary because some of her words were fantastic! I’ll definitely be using, “This is horriculous!” from time to time. I just know it.

More than her personality, I really loved her drive to be successful in her board game business. You don’t see historical heroines that serious about their own business endeavors very often so it was a refreshing change for me.

There wasn’t much that I didn’t like about this book. If I had to pick a gripe, it would probably be all of that nonsense with Mrs. Black. Was that her name? Nola Black? I’m glad that Pandora was able to rise above such pettiness and I even understood why Gabriel was so blinded by keeping them apart but I didn’t really think it was necessary because there was so many other things going on to keep the story going but whatever, it was still a damn good romance.

What about you?

Holly: I loved her board game business, too. It was wonderful to read about a heroine who was more concerned with her independence than catching a gentleman’s eye.

I didn’t like the nonsense with Mrs. Black, either. It seemed rather ridiculous to include it when there was already the business with the Irish Anarchists Pandora came into contact with. Not to mention, the whole thing felt very unfinished. There was no mention of her after Gabriel admitted to having a mistress, until all of a sudden she shows up at the theater while Pandora is there? It really seemed to come out of nowhere. And what happened afterward? Aside from Gabriel being pissed and worried about Pandora’s reaction, there was no closure. He didn’t mention speaking to her again, or even refusing to give her the satisfaction of speaking to her again. The whole thing was silly.

What did you think about the Irish Anarchist bit? That, too, felt very unfinished to me. I’m sure she’s leading into what will happen in the next book (possibly Dr. Gibson and Ransom?), but I wish there had been something more.

Rowena: I was thinking that Gibson and Ransom would get like a secondary romance in someone else’s book since the series is about the Ravenels. I figured Cassandra and West were left and then we’d be done with this lot.

The Black thing felt unfinished because after Pandora gets stabbed, she fell by the wayside. I guess she served her purpose of distracting Gabriel so the stabber can get close to Pandora. I also thought it was dumb that Dragon’s whole purpose for being there was to be Pandora’s bodyguard but he was so far away from her when the Irish lady knifed her ass. Seriously, dude? Falling down on the job.

The Irish thing didn’t feel unfinished, but more anti-climatic. All of that and then they take him down, easy peasy. Meh. I was much more interested in seeing Gabriel and Pandora together and seeing them figure their shit out together. All of the other stuff was extra stuff that didn’t really do anything for me.

All in all, it was a solid romance and I enjoyed getting to know Gabriel and Pandora. I loved seeing Gabriel’s family and Pandora’s again because they were such a fun bunch. I loved Pandora’s made up words. I loved watching Gabriel fall under Pandora’s spell even when she was trying to push him away. Lisa Kleypas shines with her characters and the dialogue in this one and I give it 4.25 out of 5. You?

Holly: Right, but Ransom is a Ravenal, so if he gets his own book, it would apply to the series. (It was implied he was a bastard child or something).

The Irish thing wasn’t cleared up at all. They discovered it was dude from the Home Office, but he killed himself before he could be questioned, so it was just left open ended.

The romance was really great. I loved Gabriel and Pandora together, I loved both families, and I loved the way Gabriel loved her. I’m giving it a 4.25 also.

four-half-stars

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Review: Cold Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

Posted April 11, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Cold Hearted Rake by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Rowena
Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #1
Also in this series: Devil in Spring
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: October 27th, 2015
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 419
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four-stars

A twist of fate...

Devon Ravenel, London's most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities... and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl's three innocent sisters are still occupying the house... along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon's own.

A clash of wills...

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:

Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she's ever known?

Cold Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas is the first book in the Ravenels series. It’s a book that I’ve been meaning to read but never got around to until now. What a great historical romance this book turned out to be. I shouldn’t have doubted Kleypas’ ability to entertain me but it’s been so long since I’ve read one of her historicals and I forgot how great she is at writing entertaining characters who make me laugh, happy sigh and love to death.

Devon Ravenel has just inherited an earldom from a cousin he despised. So he’s stuck with a title he doesn’t want, estates that are falling down around their ears and with each passing day, he’s getting responsibilities that he hates. He also inherited his cousin’s widow and three younger sisters. He has no idea what to do about any of it and he doesn’t want to figure it out.

Kathleen’s husband is dead and the new earl that took over his title is moving in and making changes. She needs him to fix things around the estate but he plans on selling the place and she has to figure out her next move…with her three young sisters in laws in tow.

Devon was a solid hero that came full circle. He was a complete douche in the beginning but the more invested he became in Ravenel House and the title that he inherited from his bastard cousin. I thought he was a good brother, and then a good cousin to Ladies Pandora, Cassandra and Helen. He was also really good to his bastard cousin’s wife, Kathleen. Kathleen nagged him into caring and he started caring about more than his family, his responsibilities and everything around him. He started caring the most about Kathleen and he wanted her with a fierceness that surprised him. I really enjoyed seeing him come into his own. He was older and he was overwhelmed but he didn’t shy away from his new life and I loved him for that.

Kathleen started off with such promise. I did love how much she adored and wanted to protect her late husband’s sisters. They were important to her and she cared about them so she took on the responsibility of making sure that they were taken care of in their brother’s absence. I also really liked her form of nagging the present earl into doing his duties.

The romance between Devon and Kathleen steamed up the book. I enjoyed getting to know them both. The slow progress of their relationship over the course of the book was interesting and it was fun. It was classic Kleypas historical romance and I enjoyed the heck out of it. The characters weren’t perfect but they didn’t need to be. I loved how flawed they were, how much color they brought to the story. I enjoyed getting to know Devon and Kathleen, West and the sisters. They were all such great characters and I couldn’t start the next book fast enough. This was an enjoyable book and a fabulous start to a series. I recommend.

4 out of 5

four-stars

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Retro Review: Midnight Angel by Lisa Kleypas.

Posted January 4, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 10 Comments

Retro Review: Midnight Angel by Lisa Kleypas.Reviewer: Rowena
Midnight Angel by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Stokehursts #1
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: January 1st 1995
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 373
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four-half-stars

A noblewoman of frail beauty and exotic mystery fakes her own death to escape the gallows. And now she must flee. In disguise and under a false identity, she finds unexpected sanctuary in the arms of a handsome and arrogant yet gallant British lord—who must defy society to keep her safe . . . and overcome a tragic past to claim her as his own.

***As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This week, we’re checking out an old Lisa Kleypas review that I wrote so long ago. I haven’t re-read this book in so long so I don’t even know if I’d give it the same grade today and gah, I sound like…nothing good. sigh.***

This review was originally posted on March 17, 2008

I’m reading about 3 different books right now and this is the book that I kept going back each and everytime I picked up a book to read. There was just something about this book that had me coming back for me. I’ve said this before in my reviews that when a story has fantastic characters, I fall right into the story and characters can make me love the most basic of storylines and even the most cheesiest of storylines…and though this wasn’t a basic or cheesy storyline, I did end up really enjoying this book.

Lord Lucas Stokehurst is a widower who loved his first wife very much. He’s got a young daughter who acts beastly all the time and needs a woman’s influence in her life to teach her how to act like a true lady. Luke doesn’t ever want to get married again because he will feel guilty about forgetting his first wife, Mary.

All of that changes when “Miss Karen Billings” with many deep, dark secrets comes into his life. He is drawn to the mystery surrounding Miss Billings and as she’s his daughter’s new governess, he vows to stay away from her.

But like a moth to a flame, Miss Karen Billings carves her way into his life and into the hearts of those most close to him.

Most especially his daughter.

Emma was a young woman of 12 who needed a woman’s influence to teach her the ways of life. She needed someone to teach her the basic truths of what she was going through and she needed someone to love her the way a mother would love her. Tasia filled that role to perfection and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the scenes between Tasia and Emma. The way they grew close warmed my heart because they both needed each other, it wasn’t just Emma needing Tasia. Tasia needed Emma just as much and I loved that. They bonded together and formed the sort of friendship that Emma needed to help her get through that awkward stage in her life.

Oh and “Miss Karen Billings” real name was Lady Anastasia from Russia. She was on the run for murder and she was never to return to Russia because that would be her death sentence. She couldn’t trust anyone and it took her a whole lot to finally trust in the love Lucas was offering her and the protection he promised to give her if she would only but trust him.

This book was a wonderful read. It was a fast paced story, sometimes it was a good thing and sometimes it was a not so good thing.

It was a not so good thing because I felt like with the snap of a finger Lucas just changed his mind and was in love with Tasia. He found out about her secret and then humiliated her in front of everyone and then felt bad so he fell in love with her and tried to go and make things better for her. It just wasn’t believable to me. It would have been nice to see him gradually fall in love with her, but that bugged a little, it didn’t ruin the story for me.

I really enjoyed the secondary characters in this one. Emma was a fantastic addition, she was young, lively and just so real…I enjoyed her a lot. She truly did love her Dad and wanted what was best for him and that horrid Lady Harcourt just wasn’t it. I’m glad she got tossed to the corner, it just would have been nice if Tasia got a chance to shove her snobbiness up her throat or something because I hated the way she treated Tasia, like she was insignificant.

The age difference between Luke and Tasia didn’t bother me in the least but I guess it was because Lisa Kleypas did an exceptional job of not dwelling on it, that it made me forget all about their age but in the back of my mind, I was always thinking, “Age aint nothing but a number” just like Aaliyah sang in her song. =)

Man, Lucas Stokehurst was a stud! I hella loved him. He was everything that I love in a hero. He was strong, handsome and had an inperfection. The inperfection made him all the more sexier to me because who wouldn’t think a hook is sexy? Loved it. I loved the way he was with Tasia, even when he was jerk to her, I liked it…and the way he was with Emma was another plus with me. He loved that little girl and just the manly man that he was…the man that Charles admired and the man who was so popular with the other men was exactly Lucas and I hecka loved him, he took up someone spot in my Top 5 favorite LK men. I LOVE HIM!

I enjoyed Tasia as well, I thought she was a good heroine. When she bullheadedly told Luke that she couldn’t stay and she told him the real reason why she couldn’t stay instead of using that whole “lie to save his life” bull crap was a real plus with me. She didn’t feel the need to lie to him when he finally knew the whole truth of why she had to leave…so that he and Emma would be safe because as long as she was there with them, they would be a target and she couldn’t bear it if anything happened to the both of them.

Overall, this book was beautifully written and I thought the story was very engaging and the characters were exceptional. I fell in love with the Stokehursts and with Tasia…they made a beautiful pair and I loved how true love healed all the wounds this family had going for them, it was just a nice story to get lost in for the few hours that it took me to read this. I highly recommend this book to any of you out there, wanting to read a great historical!

four-half-stars

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Review: Brown Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas

Posted August 12, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Brown Eyed Girl by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Rowena
Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Travis Family #4
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: August 11th 2015
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
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three-stars

Wedding planner Avery Crosslin may be a rising star in Houston society, but she doesn't believe in love-at least not for herself. When she meets wealthy bachelor Joe Travis and mistakes him for a wedding photographer, she has no intention of letting him sweep her off her feet. But Joe is a man who goes after what he wants, and Avery can't resist the temptation of a sexy southern charmer and a hot summer evening.

After a one night stand, however, Avery is determined to keep it from happening again. A man like Joe can only mean trouble for a woman like her, and she can't afford distractions. She's been hired to plan the wedding of the year-a make-or-break event.

But complications start piling up fast, putting the wedding in jeopardy, especially when shocking secrets of the bride come to light. And as Joe makes it clear that he's not going to give up easily, Avery is forced to confront the insecurities and beliefs that stem from a past she would do anything to forget.

The situation reaches a breaking point, and Avery faces the toughest choice of her life. Only by putting her career on the line and risking everything-including her well-guarded heart-will she find out what matters most.

I’ve been waiting pretty anxiously for this book. Like, for years. I was bummed a few years back when rumors were floating around that Lisa Kleypas said she didn’t have plans to ever write Joe’s story but then Brown Eyed Girl got written and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

It’s been a while since I read any books in the Travis family series so one of the things that I forgot was that the books were written in first person…in the heroines POV. Most of the heroes in this series are in the Travis family. When I first read Sugar Daddy, it was Hardy that I wanted to read about next. When I read Blue Eyed Devil, it was Jack that I wanted to get to know and while we get to know them through the women that they love, it would have been nice to get in their heads too.

In Brown Eyed Girl, we’re in Avery Crosslin’s head. We get her and Joe’s story through her eyes and I was a bit bummed out by that because it was Joe that I wanted. I wanted to know Joe more and when I put this book down, I didn’t feel like I got enough Joe. I wanted to know more about what happened to him after the accident. I wanted to see him outside of when he was with Avery. I just wanted more of him.

Avery was kind of hard to take in the beginning. She was annoying in that hot and cold, make up your damn mind already way and when she heads to New York and just expected Joe to tag along with her while she rides the celebrity train, I was annoyed. She comes a long way from the beginning to the end but I don’t know, throughout the entire book, I wanted more of things that I didn’t get.

I wanted more of the Travis family. I wanted more Joe. I wanted more Haven and Hardy and because I didn’t get that, I felt a bit let down. Now don’t get me wrong, Lisa Kleypas is a great writer and she turned my feelings where Avery was concerned around but in the end, I didn’t absolutely love it. I just liked it well enough.

Grade: 3 out of 5

This book is available from Piatkus. You can purchase it here. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

three-stars

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Review: Crystal Cove by Lisa Kleypas

Posted February 9, 2015 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Crystal Cove by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Holly
Crystal Cove by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Friday Harbor #4
Published by Macmillan
Publication Date: February 5th 2013
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women
Pages: 336
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three-half-stars

ONE WOMAN WHO HAS BEEN CURSED NEVER TO FIND LOVE . . .
ONE MAN WITHOUT A SOUL WHO WANTS HER MORE THAN LIFE ITSELF . . .
THEY MEET IN A SMALL ISLAND TOWN IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, WHERE MAGIC IS IN THE AIR AND FATE IS A FORCE TOO POWERFUL TO DEFY. . . .
In New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas's Crystal Cove, Justine Hoffman has made a comfortable life for herself on the island of Friday Harbor. She is the proprietor of a successful boutique hotel, and she has the safe, predictable life she has always wanted. Growing up with her flighty, nomadic mother, Marigold, has instilled in her a deep longing for stability. But in spite of everything Justine has achieved, there is still something missing. Love. And after years of waiting and dreaming, she is willing to do whatever it takes to change her destiny.
What Justine soon discovers is that someone cast a spell on her when she was born, with the result that she will never find her soul mate. Determined to change her fate, Justine finds a way to break the enchantment, never dreaming of the dangerous complications that will follow.
And when Justine meets the mysterious Jason Black, she accidentally unleashes a storm of desire and danger that threaten everything she holds dear . . . because Jason has secrets of his own, and he wants more from her than fate will ever allow.

I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the previous Friday Harbor novels, but I still felt it was a strong read. I found myself becoming frustrated with the characters toward the middle of the book. I felt there needed to be a lot more groveling on the part of the hero once his big secret is revealed. Justine’s refusal to accept what she was was frustrating, especially since she had such casual disregard for witchcraft, but was willing to meddle in it for her own purposes.

Many others were bothered by the paranormal elements, but I thought they were interesting and well done. Though soft, they added additional depth and entertainment to the story.

Still, I enjoyed the romance and the suspense of waiting to see what would happen with her curse. The end was satisfying and exciting, and I enjoyed the main characters as well as the secondary ones.

3.75 out of 5

Reading Order:

three-half-stars

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