Series: The Wallflowers

Review: Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

Posted June 13, 2013 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Scandal in Spring by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Holly
Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Wallflowers #4
Also in this series: A Wallflower Christmas, Again The Magic, The Devil in Winter
Published by Harper Collins
Publication Date: March 17th 2009
Pages: 400
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

Quirky and fun-loving American heiress Daisy Bowman is the last unmarried Wallflower. Her exasperated father has informed her that if she can’t find a husband by the end of her third London season, she will be forced to marry a man she hates—the ruthless entrepreneur Matthew Swift.
Daisy is horrified. A Bowman never admits defeat, so she decides to do whatever it takes to marry someone . . . anyone . . . other than Matthew. What she doesn’t count on, however, is Matthew’s unexpected charm, or the blazing sensuality that soon flares beyond both their control. And Daisy discovers that the man she has always hated just might turn out to be the man of her dreams.
But when a scandalous secret is uncovered, it could destroy both Matthew and a love more passionate and irresistible than Daisy’s wildest fantasies.

Scandal in Spring is the fourth and final book in Lisa Kleypas’ Wallflower series. I was very anxious to read it, because though I didn’t really care for It Happened One Autumn, I loved Devil In Winter and was curious about Daisy. Plus, something happens with Daisy and Cam Rohan in DIW, and I wondered if it would go anywhere. It didn’t, but that worked for me, because I ended up really liking this hero for Daisy.

Daisy’s been out for a couple of seasons but doesn’t have any marriage prospects lined up and her father is upset about it. He tells her she either has to bring someone up to scratch within a certain amount of time, or he’s setting her up. Daisy is horrified when her father tells her who he’s chosen. None other than the scrawny, cold, machine-like Matthew Swift, whom she hasn’t seen in years.

Matthew isn’t the same scrawny, cold guy anymore, however. Now he’s all man, built and muscular and charming and…perfect for Daisy. Only, she refuses to see that at first. Matthew has wanted Daisy since he first laid eyes on her ten years ago, but he’s harboring a secret that could destroy his life, so he knows he can’t risk being with Daisy.

Though I enjoyed this one, it doesn’t come close to Devil in Winter (my favorite of the series). I never really got a feel for Matthew. I just never felt connected to him like I did with Sebastion.

Daisy was a great heroine. I had some issues with the way she was constantly referred to as elfish, but that’s a personal issue and doesn’t have much to do with the story itself. Though she TRIED to dislike Matthew, she couldn’t, and I loved that once she committed she stuck with it.

The character development was kind of weak. Though I got a great feel for Daisy, I didn’t get hardly anything for Matthew. He just didn’t seem…alive to me. Plus, his “secret” was just silly. I mean, the secret itself wasn’t, but the way it played into the story was. In the end, it was solved way too easily. It didn’t make one lick of sense that Kleypas added this element in and didn’t expand upon it. Besides, it seems to me that she already played this storyline out in Stranger In My Arms.

I’m not a fan of Lillian Bowman. She drove me crazy.. Bitch had her own book, she didn’t need to star in this one, too. Though she bugged a little in her own story, she was downright obnoxious in this one. I hated her. Flat out. She drove me to distraction the way she constantly meddled and told Daisy what to do and refused to listen to anyone but her overblown self. She didn’t seem strong and independent at all, but needy, controlling and bitchy. Very bad form, IMO.

Overall the story was good, but not amazing. I enjoyed Daisy and liked how once she made a decision she stuck with it, but I wasn’t super impressed with this last installment in the series.

3.5 out of 5 (mostly for Daisy)

The Series:

  

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

*This review was originally published at Sanctuary’s Finest

three-half-stars


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Author Spotlight Review: Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas

Posted October 15, 2009 by Holly in Features, Reviews | 3 Comments

Author Spotlight Review: Devil in Winter by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Holly
The Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Wallflowers #3
Also in this series: A Wallflower Christmas, Again The Magic, Scandal in Spring
Published by Harper Collins
Publication Date: October 13th 2009
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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five-stars

"I'm Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent. I can't be celibate. Everyone knows that."
Desperate to escape her scheming relatives, Evangeline Jenner has sought the help of the most infamous scoundrel in London.
A marriage of convenience is the only solution.
No one would have ever paired the shy, stammering wallflower with the sinfully handsome viscount. It quickly becomes clear, however, that Evie is a woman of hidden strength—and Sebastian desires her more than any woman he's ever known.
Determined to win her husband's elusive heart, Evie dares to strike a bargain with the devil: If Sebastian can stay celibate for three months, she will allow him into her bed.
When Evie is threatened by a vengeful enemy from the past, Sebastian vows to do whatever it takes to protect his wife . . . even at the expense of his own life.
Together they will defy their perilous fate, for the sake of all-consuming love.

It’s no secret that I adore this book, everything from Sebastian to Evie. I know many will claim Derek Craven, the hero from Dreaming of You, is better, but I completely disagree. Not only do I find Sebastian to be the better hero, but I like the heroine and overall story better in this book as well.

We meet Sebastian in the previous book, It Happened On Autumn, where he’s cast as a villain (by his own actions). The thing I love best about him in this book is that he’s no different than he was in the previous book. He is un-apologetically a bastard. He doesn’t just act like an ass to cover a true heart of gold, he really just is an ass. But events in the book and Evie start to change him. I love watching his transformation.

Evie undergoes her own transformation in this story. Though she’ll always be a shy wallflower, she really blossoms and matures in this book. She’s shown to be a strong woman who’s willing to fight for what she believes in. I wasn’t sure about her in the beginning but she really captured me as the story went on.

The chemistry between Evie and Seb practically leaps off the pages, but that isn’t enough for Evie. She wants more from Sebastian than what he’s given every other woman in London – she wants his heart. And she fights for it. Though she knows she shouldn’t want the love of a rake – one who has shown himself to be a complete bastard – she longs for it anyway. I think her practicality is something that really saves this book from becoming like so many others. Evie knows what she wants is silly to wish for, but she can’t help but wish for it anyway.

As the story progresses, we actually see the changes in Sebastian and know he’s coming to care for Evie. When Sebastian falls ill and Evie nurses him back to health..well, his vulnerability and Evie’s strength really touches me. I think the role-reversal really shows us how far each character has come.

Sebastian really is the perfect anti-hero, and Evie the perfect woman to change him.

5 out of 5

The series:

Book CoverBook CoverBook CoverBook Cover

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

five-stars


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Author Spotlight Review: Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas

Posted October 14, 2009 by Holly in Features, Reviews | 9 Comments

Author Spotlight Review: Again the Magic by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Holly
Again The Magic by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Wallflowers #.5
Also in this series: A Wallflower Christmas, The Devil in Winter, Scandal in Spring
Published by Harper Collins
Publication Date: October 13th 2009
Pages: 416
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

She gave him her innocence . . .
Lady Aline Marsden was brought up to marry a man of her own class, but from the moment she meets John McKenna, she risks everything to be with him.
He gave her his heart
Although their love is forbidden, McKenna's passion for the beautiful Aline is too compelling to deny.
When their secret is discovered, their world is shattered. McKenna is forced to leave forever, unaware that the only reason Aline has given him up is to save him.
Now McKenna has returned, a powerful man determined to take revenge against the woman who broke his heart. But the magic between them burns as fiercely as ever . . . and as McKenna uncovers Aline's deepest secret, together they discover a love that will defy Fate itself.

 

The blurb of this book is kind of misleading, so I’m going to give you a better summary. Please be advised that the summary and my review will contain mild spoilers (things that are discovered early on in the book).

Aline and McKenna grew up together. He was taken in by the housekeeper and given work in the stables as a young boy, and he and Aline quickly became best friends. As they grew older, the feelings between them changed into something much deeper and more mature. McKenna knew they couldn’t be together, but Aline desperately tried to change his mind.

They were seen kissing (the farthest McKenna would let things go) and Aline’s father banished McKenna from the estate. Aline knew McKenna wouldn’t leave her unless she made him believe she didn’t love him. So she lied and told him she’d never cared for him and had only been playing with him. Shortly thereafter she’s involved in an accident and her legs are severely scarred in a kitchen fire. As a result she never married, or really ever even left the country estate.

Years later McKenna returns to Stony Cross Park, a wealthy American. He’s made a fortune and has now come to seek revenge on Aline for destroying him as a young boy. But he couldn’t have predicted how the sight of her would still leave him breathless and wanting. And before long he’s just as captured by her as he was in his youth.

One of the things I love best about this book is that it deals with the powerful emotions we deal with in our youth. I can remember my first love, and how devastated I was when it ended. Although I don’t still pine for him (I have an amazing husband, one that outshines everyone and everything in my life), I could really understand the pain both Aline and McKenna carried with them.

I love McKenna. Even when he was dead set on revenge I was drawn to him. As a boy he had no ambition and was content to work in the stables and spend his free time with Aline. After her betrayal (or what he felt was her betrayal) he became driven, and eventually made a fortune as the business partner of an extremely wealthy American. As a man he isn’t anything like the boy he was. He’s cold and cynical and jaded, and his only thoughts are to make Aline pay. But we, as the reader, can see he just needs the right incentive to love as he once did.

I understood the reason Aline sent McKenna away, even as my heart broke for both of them. But I became extremely annoyed with her later in the story, worrying so much about something she had no control over. Because her legs are scarred, she feels no man, especially McKenna, will want her. So she continues to push him away. This didn’t bother me as much the first time I read the book, but this time around I wish she’d put more faith in him. As the story wore on she seemed more and more like a spoiled child. Aside from that, I did like her character. I just wish she’d been honest sooner.

I adore the secondary romance between Livia, Aline’s younger sister, and Charles Shaw, McKenna’s business partner. Shaw is an alcoholic and Livia has been living in self-imposed exile since a scandal hurt her in the past. Watching the two of them overcome their demons and fall in love really worked. Especially because falling in love wasn’t the end of the story for them.

Although I had more issues with the story this time around, I’d still say it holds up.

4.25 out of 5

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Something you might not have realized: the heroine(s) of this book are the sisters of Lord Marcus Westcliff, who gets his story in It Happened One Autumn, the second book of the Wallflowers series. Marcus Westcliff is also featured in Worth Any Price, the third book in the Bow Street Series.

four-stars


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Joint Review: A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas

Posted October 14, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 10 Comments

Joint Review: A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Holly and Rowena
A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Wallflowers #5
Also in this series: Again The Magic, The Devil in Winter, Scandal in Spring
Published by Macmillan
Publication Date: November 2nd 2010
Pages: 224
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas invites you to spend the holidays with the Wallflowers—four young London ladies who finally found the men of their dreams...and will join together once more to help the world's most notorious rogue meet his match.
The magic of Christmas
Rafe Bowman has just arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford. His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady-in-waiting, and if it weren't for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed. Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallflowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen...
BEGINS under the mistletoeWinning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants. However, Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic to a romantic...and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts.
"Splendid romance."—Booklist

 

It’s been awhile since we did a joint review here at Book Binge, but when Rowena, Casee, and I realized we’d all read A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas, we decided to do one. Please note: There will be spoilers below.

Holly: It was great seeing the Wallflowers again, though I’m glad the story wasn’t totally focused on them. I adored Hannah and Rafe both. There was something very real about them and their relationship. I think Hannah’s understanding of her situation was very well done. I really didn’t like Lady Natalie, though. I’m not sure if LK meant for her to be a sympathetic character, but I didn’t buy it. Especially the way she treated Hannah when she didn’t get her way.

Rowena: I KNOW! I am not a fan of Natalie’s. I hated the way that she treated Hannah, especially when she wanted to spend time alone with Rafe. The way she talked down to Hannah in front of Rafe as if that made her cooler to Rafe seriously pissed me off and sealed her fate for me as the tramp I didn’t like at all.

But, I LOVED THIS BOOK! I thought it was such a fast and cute holiday read. I loved how The Wallflowers were all reunited and happily married. It was fun to see them all band together to help Hannah and I loved the whole Cinderella theme as well.

Rafe was a hottie of a hero, loved him! I loved his personality and I loved his hotness and I just effing loved him! The way he was with Hannah and the way that he was with his sisters and the kids. He was an all around great hero.

Hannah was great too! I loved how we saw her change her mind about Rafe. I loved how smart she was and how she wasn’t afraid to show how smart she was and I loved how easy it was for her to befriend the Wallflowers and fit in with them. She was great, great, great.

Casee: I couldn’t stand Lady Natalie. The way she treated Hannah was just awful, especially in front of Rafe. I thought I would like her b/c of how amused she was when Hannah told her about meeting Rafe. But then she just seemed spiteful and petty.

I loved the first meeting between them. The way Hannah was so apalled by Rafe’s manners was freaking funny.

Like Rowena said, it was a fast and cute holiday read. I really enjoyed it.

H: Natalie was very much the spoiled child. I’m still not clear if LK meant for her to be likable or not. I mean, were we supposed to want her to end up happy, just not with Rafe? I certainly didn’t feel that way in the end. I wanted her to get her comeuppance. I loved that the Wallflowers kind of jumped in and took Hannah under their wing. The scene where they find the letter from Rafe and are examining it is hilarious. It starts with one and then another pops her head in and they all said the same thing, “Hannah found a letter. It’s a secret. Come in.” Adorable. I liked Rafe, too. He was very chivalrous. The way he joked and teased them was great. I definitely loved the intimacy he and Hannah established right in the beginning. How they talked to each other about things and really listened to each other. Oh! How about that first kiss? Scorching! One thing that really bothered me was Lilian. Why in the world would she think Westcliff was cheating on her? That really didn’t ring true for me at all. She was always self-assured and confident and having her question herself and Marcus just..didn’t work. Is that just me?

R: I hope she wasn’t meant to be likeable because I didn’t like that little tramp at all. So crosses fingers not meant to be likeable.

Me too. I thought that adding the Wallflowers into the story would kind of take away from my enjoyment of Rafe and Hannah but that wasn’t the case at all. I think LK did a fantastic job of writing them into the story without them stealing the thunder away from Hannah and Rafe. I loved the scene that you mentioned because it showed us just how close each of the Wallflowers are and even after all this time and then all the time spent apart to see them all together again and acting as if they had spent everyday together was great to see and I was glad that they all came together to help Hannah, it was cute, adorable and oh so right.

That first kiss was…wow. I loved it, it was right then that I fell like a rock for Rafe. So confident and cocky and sexy he was and I ate it all up.

One of my favorite scenes was the one where Hannah gets roped into helping the little kid get the toupee back….oh how frickin’ hilarious that was.

As for the whole Lillian thing, she’s never been a favorite of mine but I do agree that her insecurities about Marcus threw me off a bit because of the Lillian we all knew from the other books. I didn’t think anything of it though, it was just a fleeting thought, one I didn’t dwell on at all so all of that was, BLAH.

C: I really thought Natalie was going to end up being a heroine in a novella with one of the Bowman twin brothers. That was at the beginning when she seemed likeable. After reading the book, though, I’m not interested in reading about her at all.

The scene about Rafe’s letter and all the Wallflowers coming in was probably my favorite scene in the whole book. I just really thought that it really highlighted why these four women became the best of friends in the most unlikely of circumstances. Hannah fit right in and I loved how they took her under their collective wing.

I agree to a certain point about the Lillian thing. I think that LK was trying to show that even a woman as strong as Lillian can have insecurities. Lillian was never a favorite of mine, either, but I really felt bad for her. The part for me that was totally un-Lillian like was when she asked Marcus to be discreet. The Lillian we knew would have bashed his head with whatever heavy object was at hand.

H: You know, at first I didn’t realize there was even an outside story involved (when we first heard the title, but had no synopses, I mean). I thought it was just going to be a reunion of the Wallflowers. I’m glad we got a glimpse of each of them (St. Vincent is effing hot!), but you’re right, they balanced the story rather than taking it over. Oh, that scene when she got stuck on the ledge was wonderful! I really liked not only Rafe rescuing her, but also the scene after, where they decorated the tree as a family. The wager they made and the forfeit Rafe had to give up made me all melty inside. I heart him.

R: Oh yes! I know what you mean, I loved the little forfeit thing, I got all gooey inside, it was great. I’m telling you, this story was another fantastic LK book and I really, really enjoyed it.

The only thing that I was miffed about was that I didn’t think we got enough Simon and Annabelle. I feel like after their story, they were done. They’re mentioned and they’re around but we don’t get to see as much of them as we do of the others, the same with Matthew and Daisy. Those two couples are my favorite in the series and we either hear about how they’re doing or they’re in the background whereas Lillian and Marcus are always around and have parts in other books as well as Seb and Evie, and as much as I love them, I want to see more of the others.

Is that too much to ask for? Maybe but it doesn’t stop me from wanting more sexy Simon and magnificent Matthew…=)

C: I wished there was more of Simon and Anabelle, too! Am I the only one that thought it was weird that Anabelle refers to Simon as “Mr. Hunt” to the Wallflowers? I’ve always thought that seemed so impersonal.

I’m re-reading Devil in Winter right now. I loved getting the small glimpse back into St. Vincent and Evie. Those two…sigh

I thought it was just going to be a Wallflower reunion book, too. I’m glad that we got a little of everything. Getting a new love story along w/ reading more about the Wallflowers, what could be better?

H: You know, it’s funny, but I think Lilian and Marcus are the least favorite Wallflowers by pretty much everyone, but they’re the ones that crop up most often. Even Evie and Seb take a backseat to them. Do you think LK is playing favorites? LOL Overall I’d say this is a total winner. The main romance between Hannah and Rafe is very well done and the Wallflowers really enhanced the story. I had a couple gripes, but it goes in the keeper pile and I know I’ll pick it up again. 4 out of 5 You?

R: I agree, overall the story was completely well done. The romance between Rafe and Hannah was great and easy to fall into. Great characters, great storyline makes for a winner for me and I think LK did a fab job!

4.5 out of 5 for me.

C: I was completely happy when I closed this book. I thought it was a perfect Christmas read. The only thing that would have made it better was an appearance by Derek Craven. Heh.

4.25 out of 5.

The Series:

  

This book is available from St. Martin’s Press. You can buy it here.

four-half-stars


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