Review for The Devil’s Heart (The Chattan Curse #3) by Cathy Maxwell

The Devil’s Heart by Cathy Maxwell

TITLE: The Devi’s Heart
SERIES: The Chattan Curse #3
AUTHOR: Cathy Maxwell
PUBLICATION DATE: April 30, 2013
PUBLISHER: Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 384 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 4 stars

Lady Margaret Chattan is her family’s last hope. Both her brothers are on the cusp of succumbing to the Chattan curse and the is determined to break the curse and save them before it is too late. With this goal in mind, she sets off for Loch Awe, the ancient home of Fenella, the witch that cursed their family. Heath Macnachtan believes Margaret to be crazy, but she offers a fair amount of money for him to assist her and with their dire straits, he cannot refuse. But the more he helps Margaret, the more he sees that maybe she isn’t crazy and there really is the spirit of a witch out to get her family. Are they strong enough to break the curse?

I think this has been the most disappointing historical romance series I have ever read. It isn’t terribly bad, it just isn’t amazing and since I know Cathy Maxwell can write epic love stories, I can’t help but feel overwhelmingly depressed. I guess I can applaud her for trying something new, but this series definitely proves to be that historical romance and paranormal romance just shouldn’t mix. I’m sure there is someone out there who can write amazing paranormal historical romances, but this just wasn’t it.

This novel (this whole series, really) has one shining moment and that is the characters. I genuinely liked all the main characters and despite the whole paranormal nonsense, I wished happy endings for them all. I especially loved Heath, which is why this one gets four stars. Strong and stubborn and trying his damnedest to keep his family feed and out of debtor’s prison, he knows that this farming life wasn’t meant for him but can’t bring himself to give up his birthright. Margaret was an interesting character who I didn’t love, but I liked her well enough and could definitely see why Heath fell for her so hard.

A big part of my issue was the plot. In this book especially, but the whole series in general, it just felt a bit ludicrous with the whole curse. Then end of this book particularly just felt lackluster, like she didn’t know how to end it, so she just wrote the first thing that came to mind and marked it as finished. I think people who enjoy paranormal romance may like this, but for all those Cathy Maxwell fans out there, just beware because this isn’t up to her normal standards.

****Thank you to Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Ten Reasons To Stay (School for Heiresses #2.5) by Sabrina Jeffries

Ten Reasons To Stay by Sabrina Jeffries

TITLE: Ten Reasons To Stay
SERIES: School For Heiresses #2.5
AUTHOR: Sabrina Jeffries
PUBLISHER: Pocket Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster
PAGES: 150 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 4 stars

Eliza Crenshawe is beyond desperate to runaway. Her uncle is trying to force her to marry a stranger and everything she has done to prevent it has failed. With no other option, she sneaks out in the middle of the night to “borrow” a neighbor’s horse and run to London to prevail upon her friends to assist her. Colin Hunt, Earl of Monteith, just arrived in his new estate when he notices someone sneaking to his stables. These damn English lads think they can steal right out from under him. Loaded with a pistol and a good bit of anger, he follows the thieves to the stable and confronts him. Only to discover that it’s a she and a very attractive one at that. This confounded woman has quite a bit of nerve to try and steal his horse and then refuse to tell him why.

This novella has everything I look for in a historical romance. It has romance, a compelling story, a bit of mystery, and a whole lot of passion. Somehow Sabrina Jeffries manages to work in not one steamy scene, but two, in this tinsy tale. Colin a bit of different from the typical HR hero because he is half Indian (as in his mother is from India, not as in Native American). As such, he’s not really welcomed into the ton. Eliza is exactly my favorite kind of HR heroine, with enough determination and pluck and courage to find her way through even the toughest of situations. My only complaint is the same as it is for all HR novellas, it was just too damn short.

****Thank you to Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

Review for The Scottish Witch (The Chattan Curse #2) by Cathy Maxwell

The Scottish Witch by Cathy Maxwell

TITLE: The Devi’s Heart
SERIES: The Chattan Curse #2
AUTHOR: Cathy Maxwell
PUBLICATION DATE: October 30, 2012
PUBLISHER: Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 389 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 3 stars

Portia Mclean is long past the years of debutante balls and searching for marriage. Her time for that has passed and since her father left their small family with absolutely nothing to live on when he died, they have moved to Scotland, where life is a bit cheaper and maybe they can find someone who is willing to marry her beautiful, but penniless, sister. Portia works hard to keep the financially stable, which is a difficult feat when her mother refuses to accept they are too poor to waste money on fancy dresses when the landlord is demanding rent or they’ll be thrown out. Harry Chattan is on a mission. He must find a way to break the Chattan curse and save his brother, who is fading fast. Whenever a Chattan male falls in love, he dies. Not instantly, but usually within 6 months, he is buried and he cannot tolerate the idea of burying his brother. He thinks he has finally found Fenella in Scotland, but later learns it was simply a girl masquerading as her to get money. But he becomes so captivated by this imposter that he can’t leave and he’s convinced that this girl really can help.

It’s as difficult for me to write this review as it was for the first book in this series. Generally, when I read a HR from an author I’ve enjoyed, I love them. There is rarely a case where I just don’t love it and this is the second book in a row that it has happened with. I had so many issues with this. The characters were fine for the first half of the novel and then it’s like when Portia and Harry finally got together, everything went to hell. Portia went from being headstrong to blindly following Harry. Harry went from being a one night stand guy to having multiple clandestine meetings with the same woman. Even Portia’s mother changes, going from a stubborn woman with interests only for herself to appearing to truly care about her children’s happiness.

The plot was entirely predictable. You could see where it was going from page one, which isn’t normally a complaint for HR because with all of them, you know the hero and the heroine will end up together at the end, that’s always a given, but this one was even more so. Another issue I had was with the first time Harry and Portia have sex. It read less like consensual fornicating and more like rape. They just start making out and then suddenly they are fucking. He gives Portia no real warning and there is barely any foreplay. I mean, I get that Harry felt a sense of need and urgency, but he had to know that Portia was innocent and that she wouldn’t realize the implications of what she was doing or what his intentions were until after the fact. It just felt wrong.

Really, this novel isn’t all that bad, which is why it gets three stars, but I just didn’t love it. I’m going to finish this series, but I don’t have overly high hopes for the final book. Thus far, I am highly disappointed in this series and I cannot believe that cliffhangers are invading this section of fiction. I thought they were better than that…..maybe I was wrong.

****Thank you to Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

Review of The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark #1) by Shana Abe

The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe

TITLE: The Sweetest Dark
SERIES: The Sweetest Dark #1
AUTHOR: Shana Abe
PUBLISHER: Bantam Books, an imprint of Random House Publishing Group
PAGES: 352 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 4 stars

Eleanore Jones has never been normal, no matter how much she tries to be. For as long as she can remember, metals have sung to her and there has been a dark voice whispering for her to do bad things. As a child, she made the mistake of admitting these things to adults which got her time in a psych ward with more than one treatment round of electro shock. Now she’s determined that if she can’t be completely normal, she will fake it as believably as possible. When the war starts and the majority of the population gets out of London, her orphanage sends her to Iverson’s, a high class boarding school, because she has been selected as the new charity student. Once there, Eleanore meets Jesse, the grounds keeper and feels an instant attraction to him. She also meets Armand, an arrogant aristocrat who may just be hiding the same secrets she is.

I decided to sleep on it before I wrote this review and I’m still at a loss for words….except the constant whine in my brain to go ahead and read the sequel (which I have a eARC of) instead of reading what’s next on my reading schedule. This is one of those novels that while I really enjoyed it, I’m not exactly sure what I liked. It has all the elements I hate, instalove, love triangle, bad ending, but somehow I still liked it.

I liked all three of the main characters. Eleanore has that tough girl image from being in an orphanage for most of her life and when the snooty girls start to fuck with her, she fights back, giving back exactly what’s she given instead of taking it. I loved that she was always battling with the idea that maybe she really was just crazy and everything was all in her head. Jesse stole my heart right from the beginning. Charming and sweet, he’s definitely the silent type. In fact, everyone believes he is mute. He says he only talks to people worth speaking to and that basically amounts to 2 people at the school. Armand is a whole other can of worms. The son of a duke, he’s lived a charmed life, but really he’s just as lonely as Eleanore and he’s so adept at lying no one notices. While I wanted Eleanore to be with Jesse, I did feel a lot of compassion for Armand. I know book 2 is going to take the love triangle to now, annoying, heights, but I still really want to read it. The only other character I loved was Sophia. Clever Sophia is the only girl at Iversons that actually comes to like Eleanore and I feel like we don’t get to see enough of her. She pops up a few times to help and then vanishes and I kept wishing to see more of her.

The story was interesting, if a bit slow. I read more for the fantasy elements, than for the historical ones. I’m not a big fan of novels about war. It’s not that I don’t sympathize with the cause or that I have a problem with gore, it’s just not a subject that interests me. So, while I understand the bits about the war were necessary for world and plot building, I was definitely not enraptured by them. This novel took me by surprise with the ending, which I didn’t see coming. But I can’t talk about the ending without ranting and I am desperately trying not to do that with this review.

****SPOILER****Okay, so maybe a tiny one. JESSE DIES. I’m not talking he dies and then some part of his supernaturalness brings him back, I mean he is dead and they bury him. Then you get a tiny epilogue saying that he is with the stars now and one day Eleanore will join him. Great, so I’ll have to deal with Armand and Eleanore getting all lovey in book 2. ::sobs::****END SPOILER***

This novel really has a ton of good things in it. You get enough mystery to keep you interested, tiny bits of humor to make you laugh, enough boy drama to have you rolling your eyes, and an ending that you’ll never expect.

****Thank you to Bantam Books, an imprint of Random House Publishing Group, for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Bewitching: The Kendra Chronicles by Alex Flinn

Bewitching by Alex Flinn

TITLE: Bewitching: The Kendra Chronicles
AUTHOR: Alex Flinn
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen, An Imprint Of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 336 pages
FORMAT: Hardback
SOURCE: Library
RATING: 5 stars

Remember Kendra, the witch who cursed Kyle in Beastly? Well, not it’s time we hear more from her. Bewitching gives you a peak at the life she had before all the witchy stuff started and tells you several different stories where she uses magic to help. And there is the big surprise, she actually wants to help people, not punish them, but you know what they say about an angry witch, she’ll get her revenge and Kendra is as guilty of wanting people to get their comeuppance as anyone else. Within this volume, we get 3 of Kendra’s lost causes. The main one is the story of Emma and Lisette, a new twist on Cinderella, then we get Louis and his search for a bride via a The Princess and The Pea retelling, and finally a version of The Little Mermaid that I don’t know how to categorize. All these go on with a little bit of commentary from Kendra from time to time.

What I was expecting from this novel was to follow Kendra’s perspective as she curses and helps people and while we do get a bit from her, all of the beginning and then small pieces after that, the main story is told via Emma. The way this is set up is you get Kendra’s background and then it transitions into Emma & Lisette where we see the twos first meeting and then at random points, the tale stops for Kendra’s commentary and a few tales to showcase her failures so we can see why she isn’t jumping in to help until she is sure of what to do.

With Emma and Lisette, we get a taste of what Cinderella might have been like if the stepsister was actually the one being duped. Emma is a sweet, smart, overly trusting eighth grader when her dad (who is technically her stepdad, but they have the normal father-daughter relationship) tells her that he’s first wife has died and that his biological daughter is coming to live with them. Nervous and excited at the prospect of getting a sister, Emma is tentatively optimists about this and when she meets Lisette, her hopes soar because she is sweet and kind and actually wants to spend time with Emma….or does she? Some things just don’t add up. Like how Emma’s things go missing and Lisette just happens to have identical things or how Emma is suddenly left behind on all the father-daughter trips because she overslept even though she knows she set an alarm. I found this particular tale quite engrossing. I wanted to keep reading and I ended up using time I was supposed to use reading some eARCs from Netgalley to finish this, but it was worth it.

Emma was that heroine that you sympathize with while wishes she’d speak up. The situation with Lisette doesn’t improve, it just gets worse, and I think we can tell definitively that had Emma just said something instead of keeping quiet, things would have turned out completely different. Emma was also someone that I identified with (not because I have evil siblings) but because she was a bit odd and most days wanted nothing more than to curl up on her bed with a good book. Lisette, on the other hand, was the girl I just wanted to punch. She’s that girl that can charm her way out of anything, that conniving girl who has all the males in her life fooled into thinking she’s sweet and kind but really she’s a backstabbing bitch who will fuck over the entire planet to get what she wants.

As for the two other small tales, I found Louis tale endearing and Doria’s (the mermaid) tale boring. Louis gained my sympathy, but Doria just annoyed me. Either way, with both tales, all I could really think was “Can I please get back to Emma?” I did like the bits of commentary we got from Kendra, but with these I just wanted more of what was happening with Emma. I think that might have been the point, to build suspense or whatever, but really it just annoyed me.

It was all worth it in the end though, because Emma does get her happily ever after, maybe just not in the way she was expecting. If you are looking for more of Alex Flinn’s magic, or just a great fairy tale retelling that doesn’t take you exactly where you were expecting to go, this is it. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did.

Review for Lyon’s Bride (The Chattan Curse #1) by Cathy Maxwell

Lyon’s Bride by Cathy Maxwell

TITLE: Lyon’s Bride
SERIES: The Chattan Curse #1
AUTHOR: Cathy Maxwell
PUBLICATION DATE: April 24, 2012
PUBLISHER: Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 372 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Library
RATING: 3 stars

Neal Chattan, Lord Lyon, is cursed. Centuries ago, his ancestor promised to marry a girl, Rose, then reneged on the promise and the girl committed suicide. As punishment for this crime, the Rose’s mother cursed his family. Whenever a Chattan male falls in love, he dies. Every member of his father’s family has succumbed to this curse and he is determined to never fall prey to it, but he desperately wants kids. Enter Thea Martin, a matchmaker. She is hired to find Chattan a bride that he could never love, but when she sees its Neal she’s to work for, she promptly refuses. Neal had been a childhood friend who walked out on her with no warning. Thea quickly realizes that she has no other choice than to help him because there aren’t many options for respectable work for a widow and her sons must be provided for. She starts the hunt for a respectable bride for Neal and, as you can imagine, the two grow closer. But is Neal willing to risk his life for the possibility of love with Thea?

I really am at a loss for words with this novel. I generally try to keep my historical romances and my paranormal romances separate, so I’m not overly excited about the idea of a mythical curse, but since I’ve read HR with a bit of magic before, I thought why the hell not? I have always loved Cathy Maxwell’s work in the past so this shouldn’t be any different. I was somewhat right. The storyline drew me in pretty quickly, though not the witchy parts. What got me was the childhood friends who were separated and are now reunited. I usually hate drama, but I love the confrontation that comes from childhood separations that leave one or both parties confused. Thea’s back-story especially captivated me because I also love heroines who rebel against their families and she definitely did that when she married far below herself. Even Neal was a sweet and interesting character who’s instantly adoration for Thea’s sons had me falling head over heels.

But I just couldn’t love this novel. Neal jumps too quickly over the fence on the whole “I can’t fall in love or I’ll die” argument. One minute he’s terrified of it and the next he’s throwing caution to the wind and marrying Thea. The romance bits felt a bit rushed. Then there is the cliffhanger.

I have never in my entire goddamn life read a historical romance with a cliffhanger and I can’t say that this came as a pleasant surprise. I spent my entire high school career hiding romance novels in my text books so I could read during class and never once did I stumble upon a fucking cliffhanger, NEVER. Neal and Thea’s story has a sort of ending, but the curse is still looming over Neal’s head so nothing was really solved. This novel definitely would have gotten 4 stars if not for that ending, but I can’t fucking overlook that or forget my complete disappointment. Do I recommend it to historical romance fans? Absolutely, just prepare yourself for the fact that it’s not going to be tied into a nice little bow for you at the end and you’ll need the next two books on hand so you can find out exactly what happens next.

Review for The Lady Most Willing…: A Novel in Three Parts (Lady Most #2) by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, & Connie Brockway

The Lady Most Willing by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, & Connie Brockway

TITLE: The Lady Most Willing: A Novel In Three Parts
SERIES: Lady Most #2
AUTHOR: Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, & Connie Brockman
PUBLICATION DATE: December 26, 2012
PUBLISHER: Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 384 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 5 stars

I know that I say this at the beginning of every historical romance review, but I really do need to make more time to get out of that YA drama and delve back in to this amazing stories. Truly, I’m going to find a way to remind myself that, I’ll set a monthly alarm if necessary.

The Lady Most Willing starts off as comical as possible. A Scottish laird with 2 unwed nephews decides to take matters into his own hands by kidnapping the county’s most eligible maidens and holding them somewhat hostage until his nephews are forced to marry one of them. In doing so, he also accidentally naps a Duke as well, and the chaos ensues pretty rapidly upon arrive at Finovair Castle. Knowing that this is a romance going it, we know that the three males will end up engaged to/married to three of the of the four ladies by the end of this, so let’s introduce the cast, shall we?

Firstly, you have John Shevington, Duke Of Bretton who is rather pissed when he realizes that while he wandered out of the ball he was attending in search of a nap in his carry, he was inadvertently taken hostage while his carriage was hijack to transport the ladies. Knowing he must marry well, but not yet ready to do so, he’s lead a leisurely life so far. Then Catriona Burns catches his eye and he begins to think that marrying someone in his station would be a foolish thing indeed when he could make Catriona his Duchess.

Then you have Byron Wotton, Early of Oakley who is a stickler for propriety. From an early age, his father ingrained in him the need to follow all of society’s rules and NEVER bring dishonor to his family’s name. So when he becomes attracted to Fiona Chisholm, a Scot with a reputation of a whore all cross the country, he begins to think that maybe, just maybe, a lady’s reputation may not be the most important thing about her.

Robert Parles, Comte de Rocheforte, Robin to his friends, is never going to be in the marriage mart. He is penniless and every ounce a rake who knows he has nothing to offer a woman and has endeavored never to want any more from one than the pleasure of a few nightly visits. So when the English heiress Lady Cecily Tarleton steps out of the Duke’s carriage, he is enraptured and he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that he can never have her, he pulls away and spends most of the time hiding until he realizes that she might want him enough to forgive his lack of fortune.

The last lady is Marilla Chisholm. She has only one goal in her life, to marry well. She’s pretty as a picture with buttery curls and bright eyes and she has her sights set on the Duke, then the Earl, and lastly the Comte but when all three end up in another woman’s arms, despite her best attempts to gain their attention, she is at her wits end with frustration. Why would any of them choose another lady over her? Annoy and very determined, Marilla was probably my least favorite character.

Then who can forget the kidnapping uncle? Taran Ferguson is a fifty two year old widower with no sons of his own. He’s grandson, Robin (the Frenchie one, as he would say) is to inherit his castle after he dies and he’s determined to make sure Robin marries well before then. Kidnapping isn’t as grave an offense and they think and one way or another, he has resolved to force their hands if necessary. He’s probably my favorite character. His antics were every bit as outlandish as you can imagine and somehow he’s lovable anyway.

Typically, I eschew anthologies, especially in romance novels, because I feel like they don’t give the characters enough time (or page space) to truly develop and despite the fact that this is a novel, it is essentially an anthology, with a third of the novel dedicated to each of the three couples. However, I couldn’t resist this one because I adore everything Julia Quinn writes (as well as Eloisa James) so I make a point to read anything her name is attached to. It really exceeded my expectations. Even though each story was shorter than I would have preferred, they all felt very thought out and fully formed, allowing each character to develop a believable love for their coordinating partner. As with everything Julia writes, this has a lot of humor. I think that is what I miss the most when I read YA, the humor. Julia’s (and Eloisa, and I’m sure some of it was Connie as well) manages to balance that witty humor with heartfelt romance and steamy sex scenes in such a seamless way that you never doubt it. It was absolutely perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

****Thank you to Avon for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Seduced by a Pirate (Fairy Tales #4.5) by Eloisa James

Seduced By A Pirate by Eloisa James

TITLE: Seduced By A Pirate
SERIES: Fairy Tales #4.5
AUTHOR: Eloisa James
PUBLICATION DATE: October 30, 2012
PUBLISHER: Avon Impulse, an imprint of HaperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 128 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 4 stars

Sir Griffin Barry has returned home after 14 years of piracy to find that his wife has moved on without him. While at sea, he made sure to send her money to support her and when he returns home, he finds that she has had not one but three illegitimate children. Caught between anger that his wife cheated and understanding because he was far from faithful himself, he is determined to win his wife over. But things aren’t always what they seem.

As with everything Eloisa James writes, it has all the necessary components to make it an excellent story. It’s well written, good characters, a intriguing plot, at least one very smutty scene, and all the other things required for a great historical romance. My issue, I believe, falls into the shortness of the story. The more historical romance novellas I read, the more I think that maybe they shouldn’t be written in that form. Everything feels so rushed to me and I do not like it. All the great romances I’ve read have been almost 400 pages (actually, for some odd reason, most of them are exactly 374 pages…I have no idea why), and that’s plenty of time for a fully developed plot, great character development, and more than one truly steamy sex scene. Now imagine trying to fit all of that into a measly 136 pages. It never works out well, in my humble opinion.

Bottom line? Well, if you like Eloisa’s work or just historical romance in general, you will enjoy this. Don’t go into it looking for an overly complicated plot or a lot of exposition because you won’t get that. You will get a short, good story that leaves you wanting more.

****Thank you to Avon for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

Review for The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

TITLE: The Night Circus
AUTHOR: Erin Morgenstern
PUBLISHER: Anchor Books, a division of Random House, inc
PAGES: 516 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Goodreads First Reads
RATING: 5 stars

I had thought that after reading this novel a second time, it would be easier to review but fuck was I wrong. Reading it again put me in even more awe of it because I noticed things the second time around that I missed the first. I find that reviewing it now is even more daunting because my words are insufficient to adequately describe the….um…see I’m already failing to come up with an adjective worthy of this novel. Amazing? Awesome? Astounding? Why do they all start with “a”? Regardless of my lack of vocabulary, this is a novel that will illicit more emotions than you thought possible while confusing you and making you wonder why they heck you keep reading.

It’s a bit difficult to summarize this story because it encompasses so much. The most basic description I can give is that it follows two characters, a girl named Celia and a boy named Marco, for a very long period of time, almost thirty years in fact. Both have only been told that they are a participate in a game but their respective teachers refuse to give them any more description than that. How do you win the game? Who is my opponent? How do we compete? What is the purpose? They are never told. But both strive to succeed to attain the respect of their teachers. The only thing that becomes clear is that the venue for the competition is Le Cirque des Reves. This tale follows the pair throughout the duration of the challenge.

The above description does not even begin to do justice to the sheer loveliness of this story. But, before I start fangirling, I’ll state what will annoy the daylights out of you, at least on your first read. The main source of the confusion is the way the story jumps around. Though the tale is “mainly” about Celia and Marco, it has many, many (many, many, many, many, many) more characters and it jumps around from different perspectives and even time periods. One moment you are reading about Celia being trained at a young age, then you jump ten years in the future to the perspective of a boy named Bailey who has nothing to do with anything beyond the fact that the circus arrives in his town and he falls in love with it. Then you jump to a clockmaker in Germany who is commissioned to make a special clock for the circus. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. For the first half of this novel, you can’t make any fucking sense out of it. I remember thinking during my first read how I wished it would just stay with Celia or Marco because I found the pair so interesting, but alas, my wish wasn’t granted. Though now, I’m glad that it wasn’t because I appreciated the many perspectives so much more during the second go. It jumps to completely unrelated sequences in the most haphazard fashion imaginable. Where the fuck is Erin taking this story?!?! How the hell are all the people’s perspectives going to line up in a way that makes sense? Why the fuck am I still reading this infuriating thing?!?!?

If you stick through the first half, well you are in for a treat. In the second half, everything starts coming together. Celia and Marco meet and fall in love like we all knew they would and everything actually does wrap up rather nicely. All the random people start to become connected with the story in ways you weren’t expecting and it made me wonder how the author managed to write something so stunning that I was in speechless. The first comment I want to make is that the writing is gorgeous. Erin Morgenstern writes in this brilliant way that describes every setting perfectly, but not in that overly dull, I’m wasting your time writing five pages describing this utterly plain England countryside way that some authors insist on doing (::coughs:: JRR Tolkien ::coughs::). It just completely enchants you to the point that even though it’s irritating the fuck out of you, you keep reading, if only to see the elegant way the story is portrayed. You grow to love all the characters, even the ones that you have no idea how they relate to the story.

This novel is that perfect fairy tale for adults that we’ve all been craving. It has that indefinable magical quality that hooks into you and leaves you seeing stars. It is the type of book that demands a second read, possibly immediately after the first because you see things through a different light. I’m hesitant to make this comparison because these two novels are nothing alike, but it demands a reread the same way Fight Club does because after everything is revealed in the end, you see so many things more clearly and completely differently than the first time. It’s utterly fantastic and I recommend it to every single individual on this planet with access to it and the ability to comprehend it.

****Thank you to Vintage Books/Anchor Books for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review****

Review for A Night Like This (Smythe-Smith Quartet #2) by Julia Quinn

A Night Like This by Julia Quinn

TITLE: A Night Like This
SERIES: Smythe-Smith Quartet #2
AUTHOR: Julia Quinn
PUBLISHER: Avon, An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 372 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 5 stars

::sighs contentedly::

Wow. Can I just say that I have sorely missed Julia Quinn’s writing since her last novel? Seriously, starting one of her novels gives me that great feeling you get after you return home from a long journey. No one can write romance like Julia Quinn. She gives her novels the perfect combination of wit, humor, and heart that always has me running to the nearest store the day her new novels are released. I think this is the first review I’ve ever written for a JQ book and that is a crying shame. It makes me want to lock myself in my room and reread all of her novels just to review them….

But since I don’t have time for that, I’ll settle for writing this one. First a little background. I am probably a little biased to JQ’s because I’ve been reading them since my early teens. I had just started reading romance novels, not being particularly choosey over them, simply reading anything romance I could get my hands on, contemporary, historical, paranormal, harlequins, westerns, whatever there was available. I came across the novel Romancing Mister Bridgerton by this amazing lady at a flea market one day and gladly handed over my dollar without paying much attention to what the novel was about. That’s bad, yes, but hey, I was fourteen and it had “romancing” in the title, so I figured it would be a love story and that was as far as my thought process really went. I early started the novel and fell in love. Not just with JQ’s writing, but with historical romance novels in general. I spent my entire high school career stealing any time I could to sneak away and hide in a historical romance. These days, I seem to have fallen into a world of YA, but I still strive to make time to read historical romance novels because there are some qualities you just don’t find anywhere else. For me, it’s like reading a book set in your hometown, even though I have never been to London, I’ve read countless novels about it and I know this world as well as I know my own. …Okay, enough of my sentimental drivel.

Daniel Smythe-Smith has just returned from his exile. After a night of drinking, Hugh, a friend of his challenges him to a game of cards which he wins at impossible odds. Hugh accuses him of cheating and a challenge to a duel is swiftly issued. Daniel accidentally shoots Hugh in the leg, almost killing him. The shot maims Hugh for life which angers his father who swears he will murder Daniel. Now, three years later, Hugh has convinced his father to let Daniel be and Daniel happily returns home just in time to catch the end of the annual Smythe-Smith musical. But it isn’t one of his many cousins who is sitting behind the piano. Completely snared by this mystery woman’s beauty, he finds that he must learn more about her.

Anne Wynter is just a governess trying to maintain the position she has found with this wonderful family and kept her past in the past. But when Daniel barges into her life and refuses to leave, she knows this will end badly. Even though he is a kind-hearted man, no respectable family will keep her as a governess if she is known to take liberties with members of the family. So she does everything she can to avoid him. But she can’t hide from him or her past for much longer.

Whether you are already a JQ fan or just a historical romance novel junkie, this one is a must. Daniel is probably one of my favorite heroes, confident without being cocky, sweet, and kind. Watching Anne fight her attraction because she is sure nothing can happen kept me up until 2 in the morning trying to finish it. It’s got just the right amount of humor, heart, and smut that you just can’t go wrong.