Tag: Jo Beverley

Guest Review: Seduction in Silk by Jo Beverley

Posted February 16, 2014 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

15808437Judith’s review of Seduction in Silk (Malloren #13) by Jo Beverley

Peregrine Perriam, son of an earl, has no desire to marry, but when he’s named heir to Perriam Manor, he finds he has only a month to persuade a stranger, Claris Mallow, to the altar or the property will be lost to his family forever, and his line will be cursed.

Having survived her parents’ tormented marriage, Claris prefers poverty to any husband. When a high-born stranger demands her hand, she drives him off at pistol point.

Perry finds weapons of his own, however, and soon Claris is compelled to accept his proposal. But she does so on her own terms—especially that the marriage be in name only. Once mistress of Perriam Manor, however, she discovers she isn’t immune to Perry’s charms. Perhaps a real marriage might be worth the risk—including a real marriage bed.

I’ve often wondered if people back in the 19th century really did write all those interesting and difficult caveats in their wills such as provides the basic tenet of this story — ” . . . marry in a month or your line will be lost forever . . .” — or marry by 35 or you lose your inheritance, so on and so forth.  I think we all know that it is historical verifiable that aristocrats resisted marriage until absolutely necessary.  Why should they take on the “ole ball and chain” when they were having all the fun?  But in this story, it’s a bit more difficult as the hero was not aware that he was inheriting and when he did, he was in a difficult situation.

This is also a kind of fun story in that it is always entertaining to watch two people become friends and then find that they have a basis for a relationship that would carry them well beyond friendship.  Claris is a woman who has formed some fairly intractable ideas about marriage based on the disastrous union of her own parents.  The last thing she wants is a war zone in which to live.  Yet the author carefully allows the readers to understand that Claris is like all of us . . . she wants to be appreciated for who she is and not for any other circumstance.  I would appear our hero wants the same thing and even though they are agreed that the marriage is a nominal one, their journey of discovery is the substance of this love story.

Jo Beverley writes uncommonly good historical romance fiction and those of us who have been treated to her stories in the past are always delighted to find a new one.  Thankfully she keeps on feeding our appetite for another of her books and this latest one is not disappointment.  In fact, it is a delight to read.  It is a great love story but like all really good fiction, it takes the reader into the inner workings of the mind and heart of the characters to the degree that one feels like it is a personal experience, one each of us is experiencing with the characters.    Claris is certainly a woman of her times but like all of us who prize our independence, she only compromises when she has no other choice.  Few of today’s women realize how difficult it was to be an independent woman in the 19th century.  It was not a nice time to live if one did not have social standing or sufficient financial means.   Perhaps that is what fascinates me so about women of this time period — the creativity they demonstrated in meeting almost impossible circumstances is often mind boggling.

So I recommend this novel to those who love historical 19th century romance fiction and who have been grateful readers of this author’s work.  For those for whom this may be their first experience with Jo Beverley, you won’t be disappointed.

I give this novel a rating of 4 out of 5

The Series:
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You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This title is available from Signet Select.  You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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What I Read Last Week

Posted December 31, 2012 by Tracy in Features | 4 Comments

I can’t believe how fast last week went. I guess when I’m off work I expect the days to go by slowly and they never do!

I told you all about my Christmas in my post last Thursday but then I had more excitement this past weekend. First on Saturday I met up with the So Cal Bloggers in Rancho Cucamonga and we had a great time eating, talking and swapping books (which apparently, according to the security guard in the parking log, is considered loitering. Yeah, whatever). Anyway, it was a fun time with Rowena, Holly, Rosie, Lori, Renee, Judith and newcomer, Lynda from A Fish With Sticks. I’m sad that we didn’t get a group picture this time but oh well.
Then yesterday it was my “baby’s” 15th birthday. She was in rare form yesterday and touchy as all hell – but we had a good day going to lunch, doing some shopping and then dancing our asses off to Just Dance 4. I’m a total dork when it comes to that and can only do the 1st level stuff but the kids like to point and laugh. 🙂 Here’s my child at the mall when we went out for frozen yogurt. Kris called it perfectly when I posted this pic on twitter – adorably grumpy. She wouldn’t even smile at the camera because she thinks she looks horrible when she smiles – not true! Yep, that’s my oldest!

Anyway, it was another good week. I’m still off work – yay! – and won’t go back til Wednesday. Life is good. 🙂

My first book of last week was Dragon Lovers byJo Beverley, Mary Jo Putney, Barbara Samuel and Karen Harbaugh. This one sat on my shelf for a long while and I’m not sure why – I always say that, don’t I? Anyway, I love dragons so this was a really great book for me. The four stories were different enough that I liked all of them. There was a pure fantasy, a medieval, a historical set in Japan and a contemporary and they all had good stories. If you like dragons this is a must. 4 out of 5
Next up was Chance of a Lifetime by Jodi Thomas and omg was it good. I love her Harmony series!! The stories included the quiet librarian and her best friend from high school and a lawyer in town who’s trying to find the person who’s trying to kill him along with his hot protector. I love the way Thomas weaves a story together and this one was no different. Great book. 4.5 out of 5
My next read was The Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vyne by Jayne Fresina. The story is about a man who is looking for the man who supposedly stole his families diamonds and finds a family enemy instead. The heroine is actually the “guy” who as the diamonds but he won them in a gambling match. The pair end up together while one looks for his diamonds and the other tries to figure out how to tell him that she’s the culprit. It was a fun read but it had a ton of different tropes involved that made it seem a bit on the ridiculous side. It was still good though. I’m just kind of wondering what the author will use in her next book since she used so many tropes in this one. 3.5 out of 5
The Impetuous Amazon by Sandy James is the 2nd book in the Alliance of the Amazons series and it was another good one. This is Megan’s book and she is Fire. She has a bit of a problem controlling both her fire and her desire to kick demon ass in the middle of a public place. Johann is sent to try to help her but the couple has been in love for years – unbeknownst to the other – and their attraction hits nuclear levels. The problem is that Sentinels and Amazon’s are forbidden to be together and that poses a huge problem. This was another great installment in the series. I really liked Johann a lot. I’ll be posting my review next week of this book. 4 out of 5
A Marquess for Christmas by Vivienne Westlake was my next read. This is a Christmas historical and it was a good one. I’ll post my review of it this week.
Last for the week was a couple of short stories by JL Merrow. I love her work and these were no different. The first was A Ghoul Like You that had a young man picking up guys in a bar that he thought were vampires and then killing them. Unfortunately he meets Niall and tries to kill him but he’s a ghoul. The story is a bit odd but pretty darned good. Only about 19 pages so a quick read. 3.5 out of 5 
Then there was Tortoise Interruptus which had a man who sometimes turns into a tortoise being kidnapped and finding love. It was so cute and unexpected and I love Merrow’s sense of humor – just a great story. 4 out of 5
My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:

Happy Reading!

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Guest Review: An Unlikely Countess by Jo Beverley

Posted March 2, 2011 by Ames in Reviews | 2 Comments

An Unlikely Countess: A Novel of the Malloren WorldAmes’ review of An Unlikely Countess by Jo Beverley.

After leaving the army and falling out with his family, Catesby Burgoyne is drowning his sorrows when he comes across a woman being attacked by thugs. A fight is just what he needs, but little does he realize that the lady he rescues will change his life.

Prudence Youlgrave is not just the victim of ruffians. Her life has been made a shambles by her selfish brother and her brutish fiancé. But she has a bold and courageous spirit Catesby can’t resist – and before he knows it, he rescues her again by marrying her himself.

A reckless adventurer may be forgiven for such an impulse. But when Catesby’s elder brother dies, he becomes the Earl of Malzard – and Prudence is suddenly a most unlikely countess. Neither she nor Catesby is prepared to face the shock of his family. Still almost strangers, Prudence ad Catesby have no one to turn to but each other – and it is in each other’s arms that they find a love neither ever expected.

Prudence Youlgrave is living in poverty. She grew up the daughter of a librarian and when the lord of the manor passed away, the Youlgraves’ patriarch passed not too long after as well. Since then, Prudence’s mother concentrated all her efforts on her son, Aaron. He was to be a barrister and so Prudence and her mother scrimped and saved for her brother’s schooling. Now that her brother is a barrister and Prudence’s mother has passed away, Aaron is conveniently forgetting about his sister’s plight. Prudence doesn’t want much. She just wants to meet a respectable man who can provide her with a home and a family. She knows she deserves more than where she currently is, surviving off three guineas a month and taking charity from her neighbors.

Catesby Burgoyne is a man with close to nothing. His elder brother is the Earl of Malzard and the Earl doesn’t approve of his younger brother, an attitude he inherited from their parents. All his life the Burgoynes focused all their attention on the heir, and when it was obvious Cate wasn’t fit for the cloth, his dad forced him to join the army. He did well, even though he didn’t like being told what to do. Exaggerated tales of his ‘exploits’ made their way home and did nothing to change his family’s attitude about him. Forced to resign his commission, Cate returns to the only home he’s even known, only to get into a horrible fight with his brother and told not to come back home.

Getting gloriously drunk, Cate rescues Prudence from an attack and she offers him a place to stay, just for the night. Getting to know each other, Cate is attracted and he wants to help Prudence anyway he can. He leaves her a few coins and a silver pin before he leaves the next morning. Little does he know that he hasn’t seen the last of Prudence Youlgrave.

All right, what did I think? I thought An Unlikely Countess was just ok. The writing was solid if a tad dry and the story did nothing to wow me.

The characters were…what they were. Prudence is a very practical woman who I thought at the beginning thought more of herself than deserved. She was a librarian’s daughter – she wasn’t nobility and yet she strived to keep her distance from her neighbors, who were better off than her. It was like she was holding onto an ideal and she knew if she made allowances towards her neighbors, she would be no better than them. At the same time, this attitude allowed her to go after her brother and his new wife and practically demand that they take her in and provide her with what she wants so she can get out of their hair. That initial attitude I had does eventually change, but I kind of didn’t like Prudence at the beginning. Her character does improve when her and Catesby meet up again. She is practical and she does have a positive, realistic outlook on life. She can see the challenges she will face as the new countess and although she would like to hide out in her rooms, she doesn’t. I can get behind a character like that.

And Cate, I liked Cate but his character seemed to fade a bit into the background when he brings Prudence to his family home. Despite his family’s attitude towards him, being only a second son, he’s always associated Keynings (their estate) with happy times and more than anything he just wants to be home. This leads everyone to believe he envied his brother’s position and when his brother dies, he knows people think this is what he wished for. This is not true. Cate is a kind person and just tries to do his best, despite his mother’s negative attitude. I do wish Cate had stood up more to his mother, but he does what he can.

Now for the story. It started off interesting. I liked how Cate and Pru met. But once they got married, things stalled a bit for me. There was a lengthy bit in the middle that was tied up on their journey from the town where they got married to them arrive at Keynings. The length of this bit felt really epic, like they had to travel over mountains to get like 13 miles. I know back in the day of horse drawn carriages that that’s far, but still. I felt like that ride home got a whole more pages than it deserved. It did set up some small misconceptions between Cate and Pru, but that just shows how they didn’t really communicate with each other as honestly as they could have. And like I said, Cate kind of faded to the background in the last part of the book. Here it was about Pru dealing with being a countess when she wasn’t really prepared for it. I thought she did a good job though. As for the romance, I thought it was well done. They were attracted to each other, they were very open about that. It was believable and I like how they decided to wait to consummate their marriage (they didn’t want any doubt over the baby’s parentage – Pru’s fiancé was really not a nice guy and said some nasty stuff). That scene in particular was my favorite, when Cate disrupted Pru’s wedding ceremony to another man.

All in all, I thought An Unlikely Countess was just ok. It gets a 3.25 out of 5 from me.

This book is available from Signet (Penguin). You can buy it here or here in e-format.

You can read more from ~ames~ at Thrifty Reader.

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What I Read Last Week

Posted November 23, 2010 by Tracy in Features | 7 Comments

Hello there!
So yes, it’s been a weird week and it’s only Tuesday.  Yesterday was just a bizarre day all the way around.  Mondays are usually busy but yesterday was insane.  I usually try to get this post done on Mondays during my lunch break but it was so busy I didn’t even take lunch and ate at my desk.  I guess it was because of the short week since I’m off on Thursday and Friday because of Thanksgiving – at least that’s what I’m going with.
Then I got home last night, exhausted, and the kids were all “Mom, I need you!” “Mom, can you do this?” Mom, can you help me with my math?” (that one made me laugh since I suck at math!) Anyway, they were so demanding…like I was their mother or something.  Like it was my job. *sigh* I obviously haven’t trained them well enough. ;0)
Anyway, so I’m late on this post but at least I’m getting it done, right? Right.
My first read for the week was Emily and The Dark Angel by Jo Beverley.  I read this one for The Book Binge.  It’s a re-release from 1991 that centers around a woman who’s firmly on the shelf and the rake next door.  He’s in the country for hunting season and she’s taken over her family’s estate management after her father is paralyzed and her brother goes missing in the war.  It’s kind of a mad cap story but fun none-the-less. You can read my review here if you’re interested. 3.5 out of 5
My Tracy’s TBR challenge read for the week was Slow Hands by Leslie Kelly.  I’ve had this one for a long darned time and thought it was time to actually read it.  A society lady, yet savvy business woman goes to an auction to bid on a male prostitute only to keep him out of the clutches of her step-mother.  But the programs were messed up and though she thinks the man she got is a gigolo he’s actually a Chicago firefighter.  It’s a cute story that centers around Jake and Maddy getting to know each other and Jake trying to break the ice around Maddy’s heart that was formed after she found her former fiance in bed with another woman. 3.5 out of 5
After that I read Hungry For You by Lynsay Sands.  This is book 14 in the Argeneau series.  A cute story about an immortal finding his life mate. (releases 11/30/10) You can read my review here if you’d like. 3.75 out of 5
Kiss Across Time by Teal Ceagh was my next read.  This is an erotic read about a woman who goes to a death metal concert and ends up kissing the lead singer.  When they kiss they go back in time. The woman then goes back stage and ends up kissing the singers partner and they go back in time as well.  The story revolves around the men, who are vampires, trying to talk and seduce the woman into staying with them as their bonded mate.  The vamps, Brody and Veris, are hot, hot hot.  This is basically a short story introducing how the characters got together and getting you ready for book 2 in the series which is longer and much more in depth. 3.25 out of 5
The Serpent Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt is the book I read for my DIK reading challenge and my review will post on Thursday.
My next read was Tangled Up in You by Rachel Gibson.  This was the story of Maddie who writes true crime mysteries.  She’s decided that she needs to write the story of how her mother was murdered 29 years before and see if she can make sense of it all.  She goes back to Truly, Idaho, where the murder occurred and ends up getting involved with Mick who’s father was killed at the same time as Maddie’s mom…by Mick’s mother.  The story was very cute as I loved Mick and Maddie together but it was also very sad due to the subject matter and Mick’s reaction to Maddie when he finds out who she is. 3.75 out of 5
Next was Kiss Across Swords by Teal Ceagh that I read for The Book Binge.  This is book 2 in the Time-Crossed Love series.  This book takes place 4 years after the trio, Brody, Veris and Taylor have gotten together and Taylor asks Veris to change her into a vampire.  He refuses and leaves Brody and Taylor where they soon jump back in time to the first crusade which is where Brody and Veris first met.  That’s when the men were supposed to get together only things aren’t how they should be.  Taylor and Brody must make events between Brody and Veris happen or their trio in the future may not be together. A very good book that I really enjoyed.  I’ll let you know when my review posts.  (the book releases Nov. 24) 4 out of 5
Next was Turnskin by Nicole Kimberling.  This is a shifter book about a young man who is from the country who longs to go to the city and be a playwright.  He meets and falls in love with Cloud Coldmoon who is also a shifter but also the son of a crime boss.  Tom has to leave his trailer and the country and makes it to the city where he meets 3 of his cousins who run Turnskin theatre.  He ends up writing plays for them but meeting up with Cloud again as well. The two men have to figure out how to save Turnskin as well as how they will get Cloud out from under his mother’s thumb and live happily ever after. The story is very good and I loved the different take on the shifters.  These are shifters who can make themselves look like anyone but mostly their regular forms have hair and sometimes muzzles.  The book could be solemn and sad but also humorous and fun.  Just a really good read.  4 out of 5
Forbidden Magic by Jo Beverley was my next read.  I read a excerpt of this book, that will soon be re-released, in the back of the other Beverley book that I read this past week and I decided I’d like to read it. A family of 5 run by Meg, a 21 year old woman is in desperate straits.  They have no money and no means to get any but the landlord has offered to take Meg’s sister for his mistress in exchange for free rent. The girl is only 15 though!  Meg won’t allow that so she uses a magical statue to ask for a solution to the problem.  That solution comes in the form of an Earl who is desperate to fulfill a promise made to his hated grandmother and get married by his 25th birthday.  Meg marries the earl but things start to go very wrong – which Meg believes is due to the magical statue.  This was a cute book.  I found it kind of frenetic with some strange things going on…psychic parrots…that were a bit odd at times but overall I liked it. 3.5 out of 5
My last read for the week was His for the Holidays by LB Gregg, Harper Fox, ZA Maxfield and Josh Lanyon.  A wonderful collection of stories that will release on Dec. 6.  I’ll post my review this week.
My Book Binge reviews that have posted since last Monday:
Happy Reading!

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Guest Review: Emily and the Dark Angel by Jo Beverley

Posted November 22, 2010 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 1 Comment

Tracy’s review of Emily and the Dark Angel by Jo Beverley

Miss Emily Grantwich is surrounded by misfortune. Her brother is missing in the war, her father is paralyzed, and she must manage the family’s estates and business. Now, as neighbor, she has a notorious rake generally known as the Dark Angel. She knows that everyone is right and she should avoid him, but somehow it doesn’t work out that way. And all in all, she’s not sure if she wants it to.

Emily had taken over the keeping of her family’s estate after her father was paralyzed in an accident and they found out that her brother was MIA in the war and presumed dead. Her father doesn’t want to hire an estate manager but he really doesn’t think that Emily is doing a very good job. Actually, she’s doing a great job. Not only are things running smoothly but she’s really learning to spread her wings and is enjoying her duties and the freedoms that they bring her.

After purchasing some sheep one day she literally runs into Piers Verderan, who’s in town for the season to hunt, while he’s arguing with a loose woman in town. The woman throws a container of poudre des violettes at Ver and life begins to change for both Emily and Ver.

Emily definitely finds Mr. Verderan attractive but he’s a rake he’s just not someone that fits in to her neat and orderly life. But then she realizes that if her brother ever comes back she will have to go back to her “womanly” pursuits and she’s not sure that’s what she wants either. Mr. Verderan makes her think about life outside of her town of Melton Mowbray and what that would be like.

Piers Verdaran, mostly known as Ver, is positive that it’s the dumping of the poudre des violettes that has turned his life into the chaotic thing it is now. He’s looking at a 26 year old spinster and seeing a beautiful woman, one he wants to spend the rest of his life with and that’s just something he’s never done before – either the spinster looking or the thinking about marriage. But her family as well as the local vicar, and of course the horrible rumors about his life seem to be holding the lady back and he finds himself working hard to convince her that he is the one for her.

This story is a reprint form 1991 and is a much more staid read than books that have been written since. The book is limited to kissing, and a bit more, but no sex is involved, which is fine – I didn’t feel that the book needed it and that was a nice change. The romance, while being a bit unromantic at points was certainly engaging. The rake and the spinster getting together kind of reminded of Marion the librarian and Harold Hill the shyster from the Music Man. He’s trying to get her to open up and look at the possibilities and she just wants her life to go on as it is…or does she?

I found Ver’s lack of repentance about his reputation quite wonderful. He mentions to Emily that his life is quite unconventional and it’s more than likely going to stay that way. I loved that he didn’t promise her that his life would change, etc. He was who he was and that was how it was going to be – accept him or not.

Overall a sweet romance that was fun to read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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

You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place.

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