Tag: Juliana Ross

Review: Improper Relations by Juliana Ross

Posted May 15, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of Improper Relations by Juliana Ross.

When Hannah’s caught watching her late husband’s cousin debauch the maid in the library, she’s mortified — but also intrigued. An unpaid companion to his aunt, she’s used to being ignored.

The black sheep of the family, Leo has nothing but his good looks and noble birth to recommend him. Hannah ought to be appalled at what she’s witnessed, but there’s something about Leo that draws her to him. When Leo claims he can prove that women can feel desire as passionately as men, Hannah is incredulous. Her own experiences have been uninspiring. Yet she can’t bring herself to refuse his audacious proposal when he offers to tutor her in the art of lovemaking. As the tantalizing, wicked lessons continue, she begins to fear she’s losing not just her inhibitions, but her heart as well. The poorest of relations, she has nothing to offer Leo but herself. Will it be enough when their erotic education ends?


Perhaps the most cruel social ill that was alive and well in 19th century England was the practice of taking in “poor relations” and because of their total lack of resources or income, treated worse than servants. Yes they were allowed to eat at the family table whenever there were no other outsiders present, and yes they were given a title such as “companion” rather than “maid.” But the truth is that they were worse off than servants who at least had a social standing within the corp of servants and who received a wage for their work. Women like Hannah Bell were nothing socially and they were treated like nothing. She had endured a marriage to a man who was quite a bit older, whose mis-management of his wealth had resulted in overwhelming debt at the time of his death, so that she really only had one small satchel of poor and much repaired clothing to her name. She was literally one step away from the workhouse. She had no “time off” and only as her benefactor daily napped was Hannah ever able to have time alone in the family library, a room never used by a family who was not disposed to read. It was here she happened to witness her “cousin” Leo making free with the body of one of the maids, a woman who was happily participating in activities that were completely unknown previously to Hannah even though she had been married. Her knowledge of sex was virtually nil.

This is a very erotic novella set in the 19th century and is really about the sexual education at the behest of a man whose place in the family as “second son” was merely that of a “spare” so that the title would be retained. He was viewed as the “bad boy” and given little credence as a man of worth and so, as he himself said, if that is what they thought of him then he did little to disabuse them of that opinion. Yet Leo as Lord Alfred was called within the family, was a kind and sensitive man, who saw in Hannah a woman of merit even though she did everything she could to stay in the shadows. He honestly had never noticed her before that afternoon in the library, but once he did, he saw aspects of Hannah’s appearance and her personality which began to attract him. Yet this story has some twists that reveal Hannah’s “family” for the people they really were, and even though she and Leo had an affair of sorts, there was no protection for her should anything happen to turn her husband’s relatives against her.

This is not a long read and one that will easily be enjoyed in a small amount of time. Yet it is a story that is beautifully written and one that is not rushed or any part stinted because of the shorter literary format. It exposes a slice of English life and its aristocracy which is certainly less than noble. Yet it is a love story in the truest sense although the eventual outcome is not revealed until almost the last. The writing is wonderful and the characters will developed. The reader has a very clear understanding of the context in which the characters move. It is sexy and erotic to be sure, but under all that is the story of two people who are, in their own way, square pegs in round holes and who must determine their own path in life. It is a really fine read.

I give it a rating of 4 out of 5

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

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

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Review: Improper Relations by Juliana Ross

Posted April 20, 2012 by Tracy in Reviews | 6 Comments

When Hannah’s caught watching her late husband’s cousin debauch the maid in the library, she’s mortified — but also intrigued. An unpaid companion to his aunt, she’s used to being ignored.

The black sheep of the family, Leo has nothing but his good looks and noble birth to recommend him. Hannah ought to be appalled at what she’s witnessed, but there’s something about Leo that draws her to him.

When Leo claims he can prove that women can feel desire as passionately as men, Hannah is incredulous. Her own experiences have been uninspiring. Yet she can’t bring herself to refuse his audacious proposal when he offers to tutor her in the art of lovemaking. As the tantalizing, wicked lessons continue, she begins to fear she’s losing not just her inhibitions, but her heart as well. The poorest of relations, she has nothing to offer Leo but herself. Will it be enough when their erotic education ends?
After Hannah’s husband died she had no family or means of support. Her late husband’s aunt agreed to take her in as an unpaid companion. While the aunt is napping one afternoon Hannah witnesses something very strange. She watches as her cousin by marriage has sex with one of the house maids. She knows she should alert them to her presence but she’s taken with the fact that the maid is giving Leo a blow job and actually seems to be enjoying it! Shocking!
When the couple is finished Leo calls Hannah down to see him. He was aware of her presence but when she made no sound and seemed so interested in the coupling he kept quiet. Leo and Hannah have a pretty frank discussion about what Hannah knows of sex and Leo is nearly horrified that Hannah’s mother and late husband made her believe that women should not enjoy sex – they should just endure. Leo offers to show Hannah the many different ways a woman can enjoy the different things that men and women can do together and both enjoy it. Hannah agrees and the lessons commence. The weeks fly by and the “lessons” continue but Hannah fears that she has lost her heart to Leo while his mother makes plans to wed him off to an Earl’s daughter.
I have to say that I’m always a sucker when it comes to books that have “lessons in love” tropes. I think because the ones I’ve mostly read have been somewhat secretive, illicit meetings that they have a sense of excitement to them that attracts me. This story was no different and I very much enjoyed it.
The story is told in the first person so we only get to see things from Hannah’s point of view. As much as I liked that I did miss seeing what Leo was thinking at the time. In this case I believe it was a good ploy by the author as we were left in the dark as to what Leo’s thoughts would be when their affair came to light. Although I’m not normally a fan of first person pov the writing was engaging enough that I didn’t notice it all that much – which was a very good thing!
Though we didn’t read too much about the romance portion of the book we did get to see enough of Hannah and Leo together to put it all together. Yes, their relationship was based, at first, on sex but the story told me enough about the couple that when the “I Love You’s” were spoken I definitely believed they were true. This was a lovely erotic novella and I very much enjoyed reading it.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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What I Read Last Week

Posted April 3, 2012 by Tracy in Features | 5 Comments

It’s April! Can you believe it? This year is going way too fast for my liking! lol
Thanks again for all the birthday wishes for my hubby. We had a couple of nice celebrations for him and rang in his new year rather well. 🙂
I won’t go in to the fridge and the water hook up because frankly it’s absolutely ridiculous. The end result – no…it’s not hooked up yet. They came but were unable to hook it up. Maybe by the time I’m 60 or so they’ll get it fixed. Of course by that time I’ll need a new fridge. lol
It was a good reading week…
I started off with All She Wrote by Josh Lanyon. The continuation of the Holmes and Moriarity series has Christopher heading off to Connecticut to help an old friend run a readers weekend at her house. The woman was once a mentor to Christopher so he’s happy to help. The woman actually thinks that there’s someone trying to kill her and wants Christopher to investigate. There’s much suspense and speculation about what’s really going on but it did drag a bit for my liking and I wanted to be on the edge of my seat. J.X. and Christopher also take their relationship to a new level and I’m curious to see what happens next to the couple as Christopher still seemed a bit ambivalent about the whole pairing. 4 out of 5
Next I read Just Down the Road by Jodi Thomas. This was a great installment in her Harmony Texas series. We got to meet new characters and see recurring ones and find out what’s happening there. You can read my review here. 4.5 out of 5
Rules of the Game by Sandy James was my next read. This was the story of a woman who feels that she needs a certain type of man to be her companion when he hits her high school reunion. She heads to a bar to pick him up and so our love story begins. Maybe this one spoke to me because I picked my hubby up in a bar as well lo those many years ago. lol You can read my review here. 4 out of 5
My Tracy’s TBR Challenge read for the week was Primal Bonds by Jennifer Ashley. I didn’t read the first book in this series but I liked what I read in this one. It had a wolf shifter heading to Texas to get away from a mate-claim that the son of her alpha was proposing. She then gets mate-claimed by a wildcat shifter and it’s all supposed to be on paper – not real. But the couple find their attraction is so much more. The story also revolves around a group of shifters that’s trying to take over the human part of the world but taking fellow shifters down at the same time. It was a good paranormal. 4 out of 5
Improper Relations by Juliana Ross is a novella that comes out later this month. It’s the story of a poor relation living with her deceased husband’s family and acting as companion. When she witnesses her cousin-by-marriage having sex with a maid she’s intrigued by the fact that the woman actually enjoyed it. Women enjoying sex? How odd! lol They start a sexual relationship that eventually turns into more. I’ll post my review later this month. 4 out of 5
Sleeping Angel by Greg Herren was the story of a youth who gets in a car accident and is in a coma for 2 weeks. When Eric wakes up he finds that he has amnesia and can’t remember a thing about who he is or who anyone is for that matter. He also has no idea why he had a guy in the back seat of his wrecked car that had been shot. Eric tries to put the pieces of his life back together little by little by asking questions. What he finds is that he really doesn’t care for the person that he’s hearing about, the things he did and said. He also starts making waves when he makes headway into finding out who shot his one time friend. I thought when I first started reading this that it was an m/m book. While the story does focus a bit on Eric’s one time friend who were gay and Eric’s bullying of said “friend” it’s more a book about a boy finding out who he really is. I didn’t care for Eric all that much when I found out about his gay bullying but he definitely grew on me. I also had some issues with his very good friend who was gay and wouldn’t stand up for his partner when Eric was verbally abusing him. In the end though I thought it was a really good book and I’m glad I read it. 4 out of 5
Next up was Confessions from an Arranged Marriage by Miranda Neville. This was more of a “Holy shit I’ve been caught with my head up a ladies skirt and dammit it wasn’t the lady I thought it was – guess I shouldn’t have had so much to drink” kind of marriage. lol In order to avoid scandal a couple gets married. This is the story of them trying to deal with it all – especially since they don’t like each other at all. I’ll post my review of this one this week.
Last for the week was The Werewolf’s Wife by Michele Hauf. A werewolf saves a witch from burning at the stake (no, not a long time ago – in modern times) and they end up getting drunk and then married. They part ways and 13 years later he looks her up so that he can get a divorce. Interesting. She is in a panic when he comes to the door because she’s just found out that her 12 year old son has been kidnapped. She engages the werewolf to help her and he’s none too pleased when he finds out that the kid MAY be his. It was a good story but the characters just didn’t speak to me that much. I’ll post my review on The Book Binge next week. 3 out of 5
My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
Happy Reading!

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