Tag: Mayhem in Mayfair

Review: Tempted at Midnight by Jacquie D’Alessandro.

Posted May 20, 2009 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Publisher: Berkley, Penguin

Rowena‘s review of Tempted at Midnight (Mayhem in Mayfair, book 3) by Jacquie D’Alessandro

Hero: Mr. Logan Jennsen
Heroine: Lady Emily Stapleford
Grade: 4.5 out of 5

A desperate beauty concocts the perfectly outrageous scheme for success- and not only attract the attention of the Ladies Literary Society of London, but also the last moan she’d ever expected to tempt. Lady Emily Stapleford never dreamed that the burden of saving her family from financial ruin would rest on her lovely, resourceful shoulders. Since she is only willing to marry for love, and not money, Emily pens a story she hopes will bring her fortune–only to have it rejected by every publishing firm. After all, what respectable reader would dare embrace a vampire heroine? Not to be dissuaded, Emily decides to create public interest with a vampire pretense. Overnight, London is abuzz with stories about sightings. With new interest in Emily’s books, she’s guaranteed success-0if it weren’t for the mysterious American Logan Jennsen. He’s onto Emily’s duplicity, and he has every intention of using htis knowledge to his advantage. If only he weren’t falling in love with this unabashedly creative female. And if only he didn’t have a scandalous secret of his own–one that’s putting both their lives in danger.

This is the only book in this series that I’ve read and I quite enjoyed it. I think I’m in the minority but that’s okay, I’m kinda used to that. Nath reviewed this book here and it’s funny because what she didn’t like about the book, I absolutely loved. It totally brings truth to the saying, Different strokes for different folks.

Now I read this book directly after I read Always a Scoundrel by Suzanne Enoch and the similarities between these two stories tripped me out for a bit, but I liked both books for different reasons.

This book is Emily and Logan’s book and I guess their story starts in the previous book and since I didn’t read that book, I might have missed stuff but I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. I felt that JD did a great job of hooking me into a book that comes dead ass last in the series without confusing the snot out of me. She did a good job of making me interested in the other couples in this series without taking the spotlight off of Logan and Emily.

I thought that Emily was a snot but I didn’t hate her for it. I didn’t think she was TSTL or anything. I’ve read worst heroines than Emily in the snobby department and everything else that she went through in this book made me laugh too much to totally not care for her because of the snooty way that she treated Logan in the beginning.

Her whole scheme to save her family from ruin by writing a vampire novel and then going out and drumming up interest in female vampires by DRESSING UP and pretending to be a vampire had me in fits of laughter. I mean, picture it: A woman of the ton, leaving the ballroom in the middle of a ball to don her vampire costume and fangs and then dropping in, making sure she’s spotted and then rushing away to go back and change into her ballgown and then going back into the ballroom without a care in the world and getting all excited when she hears people talking about vampires.

I thought Emily was a great heroine, one who didn’t easily succumb to the pitfalls of her station. She wanted to marry for love instead of duty just like her friends and I admired the way that she went about making sure that she wasn’t cheated out of that chance. I loved seeing her with her family, especially her younger siblings and I loved the way that Logan fit right into her family life.

I really enjoyed this book, I enjoyed getting to know Logan and Emily and I enjoyed watching them interact with each other. It was rocky in the beginning but the longer they spent in each other’s company, the more infatuated they became with each other. I don’t think that the romance between Logan and Emily was rushed or phony at all, I didn’t even feel as if they forced their romance into the story. I enjoyed it quite a bit and thought it was nicely done. Their love for each other was quite believable to me.

This book was a sweet romance that I will definitely reread again someday. I enjoyed all of the characters (those book club ladies rock!) and their husband and I enjoyed the love that blossomed between Logan and Emily. They were enjoyable characters and I’m super glad that I read this book.

I don’t think anything is wrong with this book other than Logan’s lame secret but aside from that, this book was great. I think if you’re interested in reading this, go ahead and try it out…you just might surprise yourself and end up really liking it. I did.

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

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Guest Review: Seduced at Midnight by Jaquie D’Alessandro

Posted January 13, 2009 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 6 Comments

Publisher: Berkley, Penguin

Since my first review of the year 2009 went to Breezing Through, why not write a review for Book Binge? Especially since I’ve already reviewed the first two books of this series here 🙂

Seduced at Midnight
is the third installment in Jacquie D’Alessandro‘s Mayhem in Mayfair series (personally, I would either call this series the Ladies Literary Society of London or Midnight series, but whatever…). You can read my reviews for Sleepless at Midnight and Confessions at Midnight, the previous installments, here and here respectively.

The Ladies Literary Society of London gathers again for a ghost story…

Lady Julianne Bradley has always longed for wild adventure. Unfortunately, the man with whom she wishes to share her fervor can never be hers. Tormented by her desire, she’s preparing for a suitable marriage when ghostly occurrences straight out of her latest read start happening and to protect Julianne, her father hires the very man her heart cries out for…

Bow Street Runner Gideon Mayne is determined to resist his new charge – a spoiled, pampered princess whose unequalled beauty admittedly sets his body ablaze with desire. Especially once he realizes that everything he assumed about Julianne is utterly wrong. For beneath her aloof demeanor lies a passionate woman determined to provoke his raw hunger. But now that she’s decided to play with fire, who will keep her safe… from him?

Let me fill some gaps here: Julianne is the daughter of an earl with cold, unloving and insensitive parents. Her parents consider Julianne as a property and all that matters is that she makes an advantageous marriage, thus her father choose the Duke of Eastling who has rank and money.

Needless to say, Julianne isn’t in love with the duke. Instead, she desires Gideon Mayne, a lowly Bow Street Runner. When her parents announce their decision, Julianne decides to go after what she desires and uses the ghostly murderer as a ploy. Several noble ladies of London have been killed, their jewelry stolen, in closed chambers and that have led the society to believe in a ghost as the culprit. Thinking that Julianne is the next victim, her father hires Gideon to protect his investment as Gideon is the principal investigator in those murders… but what happens when both succumb to desire?… or when Julianne turns out indeed to be the murderer next victim?

I’ll go straight to the point: this book didn’t work for me. While the writing is still excellent and engaging, the problems were the characters. I didn’t like Julianne and couldn’t connect with her. I thought she was too passive, too bland… and well, boring. She might have been a great beauty, but she didn’t have much of a personality or confidence in herself. I don’t know why she didn’t stand up to her parents and found it very annoying and frustrating. Finally, when her fate is almost sealed, she gathers enough courage to reach out for Gideon… a bit too late in my opinion. It’s not as if she cared about money or loved her parents, so why did it take so long?

Gideon was an okay hero, but I didn’t warm up to him much more than Julianne. First, there were all those prejudices against Julianne, believing that she was a spoiled princess. Then, all he could think was: “Hubba, I want her… but hubba, can’t have her, because she’s above me.”

See, I just realized what annoyed me so much about these two characters. Their pessimism and negativity. Not once did they believe that they could be together and have a HEA ending. There was always this class barrier between them and they didn’t try to remove it. Sure, they acted their parts… Gideon was jealous of the Duke or any other contenders when he thought Julianne would marry one of them. Julianne did long for adventure and freedom… However, ultimately, it just felt fake because neither of them really believed.

At the end, after they had sex, after Julianne’s been in danger and rescued by Gideon, after the bad guy’s been captured, both the H/H were still thinking they couldn’t be together!!! None of them thought of defying society and eloping!! If it wasn’t for Julianne’s friends’ husbands who got the special license for them to wed – yes, the friends’ husbands, NOT Giden or Julianne, I don’t think they would have ended together. Quite frankly, I think that Julianne would have continued being submissive and marry whomever her parents chose… Sure, she would have been heart-broken and unhappy, but she still would have done it. As for Gideon, he would live in regrets forever…

So that was my main crux with the book. Other things that bothered me? First, the parents – I don’t understand why they blamed Julianne for being born a girl. I mean, isn’t it the job of the wife to produce the heir? Aren’t they usually require to have two sons anyway? An heir and a spare? So why blame Julianne? Couldn’t the earl have slept with his wife a few more times to beget the required heir? Ugh. I didn’t really like the unloving parents; however, it does make the story a bit more original… and it’s a nice change from the usually fussy parents.

Then, there was Lady Emily. Lady Emily. She is the last woman of the group who is unmarried and of course, she’s getting her own book: Tempted at Midnight coming out in April 2009. Now, I really liked her characters in previous books. She’s the complete opposite of Julianne. Pretty, out-spoken, direct and penniless. I liked her personality in the previous book and was actually hoping this book would be hers. However, I found her snob and haughty in Seduced at Midnight… and that is not a good thing. As it is, I’m now wondering if I should get Tempted at Midnight… sigh.

So are there redeeming factors to this book? Well yes. Like I mentioned earlier, the writing was good and engaging. Then, there were some very funny scenes involving Princess Buttercup and Caesar, Julianne and Gideon’s respective canine friends LOL 🙂 I also enjoy seeing the Ladies Literary Society of London continuing reading scandalous books and meeting secretly to discuss it.

The most interesting part of this book in my opinion was the mystery… the murders of the Ladies. I think the whole plot behind it was quite clever; however, something went wrong with the execution. I think that Ms D’Alessandro didn’t really do a good job as foreshadowing and inserting clues… as a result, I don’t believe that Gideon had enough clues to solve the mystery. Another thing that I couldn’t help but wonder is why nobody was mourning? I mean, we’re talking of 3 or 4 ladies killed here… and sure, people were gossiping and speculating about the murders and murderer… However, everyone still went around like nothing happened. Not once did I read “How tragic” or “How sad.” It’s as if these murders didn’t impact their lives and quite frankly, I found that hard to believe. You’d expected the ton to be scared and worried, but no. It felt even more unrealistic when one of the hostesses was murdered a day or two after a soiree and she was barely mentioned. Even if you don’t mourn about the victims, what about their husbands? Wouldn’t anyone be sympathetic? I know that most of the ton is superficial, but to not feel anything? That’s was a major oversight from Ms D’Alessandro.


Seduced at Midnight was a total let-down after two first great entries. The plot might have worked better if the H/H were different… however, as it is, it was hard to root for them when they didn’t believe it and therefore, difficult to connect with them or like them.

Reading Order:

Book CoverBook CoverBook CoverBook Cover

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

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Confessions at Midnight

Posted January 31, 2008 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 4 Comments

Publisher: Avon, Harper Collins

Confessions at Midnight by Jacquie D’Alessandro

Carolyn Turner, Viscountess Wingate, is absolutely shocked by the Ladies Literary Society of London’s latest selection. Memoirs of a Mistress is scandalously explicit and downright wicked… and it’s stirring feelings within Carolyn that she hasn’t felt… well, ever! She’s sure that this steamy read is the only reason she’s succumbing to the charms of notorious rogue Daniel Sutton, Lord Surbrooke. She couldn’t possibly be falling for the rascal and his illicit caresses… or could she?
The last thing Daniel wanted was to be shackled by marriage vows. He lusted after Carolyn, sure, but he never imagined that once he lured her to his bed he’d never want to let her go. Yet only when a murderer targets his beloved will he be spurred to confess his true love… and claim Carolyn as his bride.

This is the 2nd book in the Midnight series, after Sleepless at Midnight, and features Carolyn Turner (Sarah Moorehouse’s sister) and Daniel Sutton (Matthew’s best friend).

I really enjoyed this book and thought the characters and storyline were refreshing. Carolyn is a widow and has been mourning ever since she lost her husband. It is only recently, with Sarah’s coaxing, that she’s come back to Society and started attending to ball and soirees. As soon as Daniel heard that Carolyn was back in Society, he parted with his mistress and plans on seducing Carolyn. See, Daniel has been attracted to Carolyn ever since he laid eyes on her, but never had an opportunity to court her because her husband was his friend. However, all bets are off now and Daniel is determined to have an affair with her.

What distinguishes Carolyn from most widows is that she truly loved her husband and the couple was devoted to each other. There was no big, hidden secret haunting Carolyn. Even more refreshing: she is no longer a virgin! Alleluiah! LOL 😛 Not only did she have sex with her husband, but she enjoyed it and missed it! I mean, talk about refreshing, right? 😛 As for Daniel, he was an interesting hero. He’s handsome and satisfies his sexual appetite with his mistresses, but doesn’t have the rake reputation. He’s wealthy, isn’t looking for marriage or heir yet… In short, he’s simply an aristocrat seducing a woman he’s wanted for 10 years; however, to our surprise and delight, Daniel has more depth than we’d expected.

There wasn’t much I didn’t like about the hero and heroine and for once, in a historical romance, I felt like they were real people. I also liked the flow of the story; all the scenes brought something to the book or to their relationship. Even the mystery plot fit well in the storyline. There were also some laughs, thanks to Daniel’s household, but as a whole, it wasn’t as funny as Sleepless at Midnight. Again, the book focused more on the H/H which was a good decision. It’s fun to see two persons engage in an affair, with the promise that when they get bored, they’ll part. They spent times together and got to know each other, in and out of bed. Seriously, I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed the book, but I guess that sometimes, it’s worth to make your book and storyline simple, like Ms D’Alessandro did.

4.5 out of 5

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Sleepless at Midnight by Jacquie D’Alessandro

Posted January 22, 2008 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 3 Comments

The ladies in London are abuzz over Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, especially Miss Sarah Moorehouse. Her imagination is fired up, so when she spies Matthew Devenport, Marquess Langston, mysteriously sneaking home in the wee hours clutching a shovel, she simply must investigate. Impelled by curiosity, the adventurous lass steals into his bedchamber—only to be caught red-handed by the impossibly handsome and totally naked nobleman.

The Marquess Langston has more important things to worry about than a group of literature-loving ladies. But Matthew’s grand plan to rescue the family from ruin could be lost when he discovers Sarah hiding behind his bedroom curtain. What is this meddlesome woman up to? And why are his desires inflamed by a chit who is too inquisitive for her own good? Well, two can play at this game . . . and when Matthew captures the beguiling Sarah in all her naked glory, the night of mischief has only just begun.

The back blurb is a bit misleading, so for a more accurate synopsis of the story, you can read Isabel’s review here. Meanwhile, I’ll skip directly to what I thought of the book. Once again, I read book no. 2 of the series, Confessions at Midnight (that I’ll be reviewing later), before reading this book… in addition of Isabel’s review. So I knew more or less what was going to happen.

What I think was well done in this book was Matthew and Sarah’s interaction; they had a lot of chemistry. Sarah is not a beauty like her sister and considers herself off the matrimonial market, so she’s cast away caution and is quite out-spoken and direct, as well as naturally witty – this made up some very interesting and fun conversations. There were also many funny situations, the most hilarious of them is Matthew discovering Mr. Franklin N. Stein in Sarah’s room! LOL! And that was the main focus of the book, Matthew and Sarah. The rest of the plot was not very original, i.e. Matthew in need of an heiress, but falling in love with Sarah instead. The murder plot tied the whole story with a nice bow, but it wasn’t elaborated on much.

Although I enjoyed Matthew and Sarah’s interaction very much, I have to admit that three quarters in the book, I kind of lost interest. What was fun and interesting was Matthew and Sarah getting to know each, “courting” each other… but once they got into bed together, then the focus of the story shifted to the money and murder and I thought it was kind of dull… like something to fill up the pages.

I think it would have been more interesting if the author has focus on Matthew and Sarah’s day-to-day life and developed a bit more their personalities. I mean, we were given the events in their childhood that molded them and made them what they are as adults, but otherwise, we don’t know much about them at all… What has Matthew been doing all these years? Where was he? I’m also curious about Matthew and his knife and wonder where he learnt that interesting skill… What does Sarah do usually? She’s the daughter of a physician… and? You probably get my drift now.

So thumbs up for Matthew and Sarah’s relationship, their chemistry and the very witty and funny conversations and situations. Matthew and Sarah were also good characters. I didn’t LOVE them, but there was nothing that I really disliked about them… and I liked how the author also introduced characters for the next few books without putting too much emphasis on them. They were there to support the main characters and they didn’t take away the spotlight away. Finally, I liked how Matthew realized on his own that he loved Sarah. Sometimes, heroes, especially historical ones, are a bit thick in the head… but Matthew wasn’t one of them and chose Sarah even when his money troubles weren’t solved. So the only unfortunate element of this book is the lost of momentum 3/4 in the book. It doesn’t last too long, so it didn’t lose interest in it.

So 4 out of 5 from me 🙂

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