Tag Archives: Goodreads

Don’t Believe the Hype, Bedding Lord Ned (Duchess of Love #1) – Sally Mackenzie

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Bedding Lord Ned was cute, you know in that completely forgettable way like a third rate rom-com starring Katherine Heigel? I think I fell victim to the “old saw” of believing the hype. Book preferences are wildly subjective and nowadays in the wonderful world of the internet and fabulous sites like Goodreads it is all too easy to taint your reading palate.

Being inundated with books these days I am not even sure how Bedding Lord Ned came up on my radar. I think it was on a comparables listing with The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie and  A Lady Never Lies both highly rated and patiently waiting their turn in my TBR pile. But ultimately I believe the problem was my high expectations of the story itself.

Determined to find a husband, Miss Eleanor “Ellie” Bowman attends a ball put on by the Duchess of Greycliffe, fondly referred to as the Duchess of Love. But she roundly dismisses the suitors the matchmaking hostess has invited on her behalf. For it’s the duchess’ dashing son, Ned, Lord Edward, who long ago captured Ellie’s heart—and roused her desire. All it takes is a pair of conveniently misplaced silky red bloomers to set the handsome widower’s gaze on this unusual girl who is clearly more than meets the eye.

After four years of mourning, Ned must find a wife. At first glance, the birthday ball his mother has thrown in his honor is decidedly lacking in suitable mistresses. But he senses something unexpectedly alluring beneath the veil of Ellie’s plain exterior—and suddenly she’s invading his dreams in a decidedly scandalous manner.

Ellie Bowman has loved Ned, the Duchess of Greycliffe’s middle son for most of her life and stood aside when he married her best friend instead. Four years later, tired of waiting for Ned to realize what he has in his good friend, she is determined to find a husband. Hi-jinx ensue when the Duchess’ thieving cat steals a pair of Ellie’s incongruously colored undergarments. Strangely the cat brings his gifts only to Ned and it seems that bulls are not the only animal strongly affected by the color red.

Traumatized by his wife’s death in childbirth Ned is a worrier par excellence, however understandable his apprehension, it is about as sexy as one of Woody Allen’s fretting narratives? Beyond his conviction that he could never love again and that he is inflamed by the color red there wasn’t that much about Ned that would seem to inspire Ellie’s life long devotion or vice versa. Far more compelling were Ned’s brothers, the rapscallion youngest sibling Jack and the mysterious married in name only Ash.

Ultimately, Bedding Lord Ned was just too precious for me, bordering on saccharine, between the machinations of the match making Duchess and her equally interfering cat I swear I could feel a cavity starting but that might have just been an over indulgence in the kid’s Halloween candy?

AUTHOR: Sally Mackenzie

RATING: 2 1/2  Stars

GENRE: Historical Romance

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Fallen From Grace – Laura Leone

Fallen From Grace Cover Fallen From Grace by Laura Leone was a hidden treasure mined from my recommendations list on Goodreads. There are not many things I like better than searching for and planning my next read especially if the reward is a story like this one. If May’s blogging theme was the exploration of a romance between older women and much younger men then June was street kids turned male prostitutes. I enjoyed Finding Home, the story of a cub reporter who investigates and eventually takes in a street kid, even though it was not a suitable comparison to On the Island or A Much Younger Man, which was my original intention. Laura Leone takes a similar plot in Fallen From Grace and crafts an emotional story of the redemption of  the man and the writer who loves him.

Ryan Kinsmore is two people, to Sara, he is first her kind hearted animal loving neighbour and then later her friend, to others, he is Kevin a very exclusive and highly paid escort. Sara Diamond is trying to recreate herself, she has just been released from her publishing contract and sells her home to support herself while she tries to write and market a new series. Through their shared balcony Ryan and Sara meet and gradually get to know each other discussing his modelling career and her struggles to succeed in publishing without the support of a company or even an agent.

All the same, he looked like someone who understood disappointment and fear, and she’d already discovered that he was someone who understood sorrow.

Having read both Finding Home and Fallen From Grace, one can easily imagine that the fate of Sean would have been similar to Ryan’s had he fallen under the power of a person like Catherine. The woman whom Ryan credits from saving him from the streets and whose place in his life Sara will have to challenge if she hopes to build a future with him.

Critically speaking both Finding Home and Fallen From Grace were stories that captured my attention with good character development neither story required an unreasonable suspension of disbelief, something that I am struggling a great deal with as a reviewer of late. If one story was superior to the other it would been Fallen From Grace as the power dynamic between Ryan and Sara is just that much more equitable whereas it was challenging for Sean to accept any overture from Megan without feeling indebted.

TITLE: Fallen From Grace

AUTHOR: Laura Leone (Laura Resnick)

RATING: 4 Stars

GENRE: Fiction

Finding Home – Lauren Baker and Bonnie Dee

I came across Finding Home by Lauren Baker and Bonnie Dee on the Best Older Woman/Younger Man recommendation list from Goodreads while searching for a comparison piece to On the Island. Despite the fact that I determined that this novel wasn’t suitable for comparison, I found that Finding Home had a great deal of merit as a story in its own right.

Megan is a young copywriter frustrated with her inability to get a writing assignment at the paper where she works. Impetuously she decides to take the initiative to find her own story if the powers that be will not give her one to cover. She quickly makes a place for herself among the youth working the street, guided by Mouth, a homeless teen who supports himself largely through prostitution. After he is beaten and robbed Megan takes him in to the consternation of her friends and family setting the stage for an unusual romance.

Perhaps I am in the minority but the age difference in this novel seemed pretty unobjectionable considering the context of the story itself. The  other challenges, mainly his past, that they would face as a couple it would seem that the difference in their ages was paltry at best. Regardless, Baker and Dee have created a highly readable story filled with the angst and grit that you would imagine is intrinsic to life on the street.

AUTHOR: Lauren Baker and Bonnie Dee

RATING: 4  Stars

GENRE: Fiction

Finding Home Cover

Book Injuries and Other Oddities

Personally, after reading a really great book, I can’t just pick up any old thing …being a discerning book addict and unfortunately the really great authors are never as prolific as we would like.  Sometimes you just get lucky and there is something compelling either by the cover, the description or by word of mouth. This is, I think, the most subjective part of book selection because everyone’s tastes  vary and simply because one person loved it  is no guarantee that you will. Thankfully with the advent of Google and websites like Goodreads much of the risk out has been of book selection. Even with these resources some people, you know who you are, still require further assurance that what they are reading is worth their time which brings me finally to the object of this post.

Sometimes a story affects us intensely, which sounds like a good thing,  it may even be one the best things about reading. There is a darker side to it though, I have joked in that way people do when they really aren’t joking “that the book had broken me“.  If a reading hangover is the “inability to start a new book because you are still living in the last book’s world”, I must have had the equivalent of book alcohol poisoning that left me in an 18 month long coma following the conclusion to  a book series that I had been anticipating with almost as much fervor as I did the birth of my first child. Suffice it to say that when you look forward to something that much there is no way that the author could satisfy my expectations. Even I realize how crazy that sounds, that being said Richelle Mead’s conclusion to the Georgina Kincaid series spectacularly disappointed me to the point that I did not even bother to finish the Dark Swan series.

I realize that books are the intellectual property of the authors who write them but don’t they have some responsibility to the reader? Particularly when they are successful and have established a significant following. Having never written nor published a book I cannot imagine the pressures that a successful author is under but is writing not like any other business and to a degree where customer satisfaction plays a rather important part? While I think fans threatening an author’s life is more than a little extreme as in the case of Charlaine Harris‘ conclusion to the Southern Vampire series. 

I will say that after concluding Succubus Revealed I simply didn’t want to read anymore. I am the first to admit that I probably overreacted. As readers, I think, we come to believe in authors whose books we love and I felt that Richelle Mead’s effort was marginal at best having seen what she could do in her past novels.  It wasn’t until recently that I even felt remotely interested in searching for something new and exciting to read or even revisiting some of the classics that I knew could never disappoint. Suffice it to say that my spring reading has reignited the passion I feel for reading and I am looking forward to that next great read and possibly even more reviewing it.

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