Review for The Secrets Of Sir Richard Kenworthy (Smythe-Smith Quartet #4) by Julia Quinn

The Secrets Of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn

TITLE: The Secrets Of Sir Richard Kenworthy
SERIES: Smythe-Smith Quartet #4
AUTHOR: Julia Quinn
PUBLICATION DATE: January 27, 2015
PAGES: 384 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss
RATING: 5 bows

Sir Richard Kenworthy must find a wife and he must do so quickly. This fact limits his options severely. Anyone who agrees to be wed within only a week or two of acquaintance is probably not going to be what he originally wanted in a wife, but there is nothing to be done about it. He needs a bride. Then he comes across Iris Smythe-Smith at her families musical and thinks maybe she’ll fit the bill rather nicely. She’s intelligent and values family and not difficult to look at or hold a conversation with. Iris has always been overlooked. Her pale coloring and quiet nature makes it easy to blend in with the background. What most people don’t realize is that behind that quiet facade lies a quick wit and more intellect than the average society male can imagine a female to have. So when Sir Richard Kenworthy starts flirting with her and acting as a man falling in love, she wonders how true it is. Then a compromising position forces her hand and she can’t help but wonder if he is hiding something. Is Sir Richard Kenworthy keeping secrets from his new bride or is Iris being paranoid? You’ll have to read to find out!

I must say that “overjoyed” does not even begin to describe my feelings for when I got approved for this. I think I went a bit happiness crazy.
Toothless excited gif
Julia Quinn is one of my all time favorite authors. I love all of her work. I think if you read my The Sum Of All Kisses review, you know that I more than a little fangirl-y over her work. Hell, my username on many a website is JuliaQuinnFan07! If I had to limit myself to only reading books by one author for the rest of my life, it would be her. That’s how much of a fangirl I am. Her work never disappoints me. So, as you can imagine, when I got approved for this, I went a little crazy. I was literally bouncing for joy because I knew it would be awesome….and I wasn’t wrong. Enough fangirling though, let’s get on with the review!

Iris was a character I immediately loved. She’s smart, she’s sassy, she’s perfectly sarcastic. Basically, she’s everything you could want in a historical romance heroine. She’s accepted her lot in life. She knows she’ll never be the belle of the ball, but she’s content with that. She actually likes being a wallflower because it gives her a chance to observe the people around her. This is one of her favorite past-times, just watching people. Seeing them interact with each other is utterly fascinating to her. Her quiet wit and biting sarcasm had me smirking the entire novel and is what really won Richard over.

Speaking of Richard, I liked him pretty quickly. He’s so entirely devoted to his family that it’s hard not to love him. He may go about solving it the wrong way, but he is determined to help his family, whether they want it or not. I can both understand him and hate him at the same time. By the time his secret was revealed, I knew what it was, but I didn’t catch on until just moments before. Up until that point, he was charming and sweet and it was difficult not to fall for him even though you knew he was hiding something big. After the doozy, it was still hard not to fall for him. You couldn’t argue with his logic. It made perfect sense and it was heart-breaking to watch. All he wants to do is help and to him, this crazy option, is the only option. He sees no other path. What he wants, what he expects Iris to do, is insane. And yet, he goes about it in such a way that you just want to hug him.

This story has quite a bit more mystery than I’m used to in historical romance. JQ keeps us on the end of our seats trying to figure out what Richard is hiding. We know that it’s bad because he is sure that Iris will never forgive him for it. I’ll admit that I had many theories floating around my head and the one that ended up being right was not the one I was expecting. But the closer you get to finding out, the more I didn’t want to know. I wanted Richard and Iris to live happily ever after. That needed to happen and I began to believe Richard’s side, that Iris would never forgive him. It was a heart-breaking ride, one that does end happily, for all those who will wonder. JQ wouldn’t do any less than a happily ever after.

This is exactly what I look for in a historical romance novel. Julia Quinn is the standard I hold all others in the genre up to and this novel is a prime example of why. She does it all flawlessly. She gives us the perfect story, the one that has just the right amount of conflict to keep it moving and still manages to pull together a believable happily ever after. We always get lovable characters and enough wit and repartee to keep up snorting with laughter (even while reading in public). You get it all and you don’t have to compromise on anything. This novel is perfection and any historical romance fan (or just romance fan in general) will love it as much as I did!

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

5 bows
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Review for The Sum Of All Kisses (Smythe-Smith Quartet #3) by Julia Quinn

The Sum Of All Kisses by Julia Quinn

TITLE: The Sum Of All Kisses
SERIES: Smythe-Smith Quartet #3
AUTHOR: Julia Quinn
PUBLICATION DATE: October 29, 2013
PAGES: 373 pages
SOURCE: Gift from my husband
RATING: 5 bows

Lady Sarah Pleinsworth will always hate Hugh Prentice. He has never done anything to her directly but his actions caused her beloved cousin Daniel to be exiled from England for several years. Now that Hugh has fixed that and Daniel is home at last, everyone wants to forgive and forget. Not Sarah, though. Sarah isn’t the forgive and forget type. Sarah is determined to hate him for all eternity. So when Honoria assigns Sarah to make Hugh feel welcome at the weddings, she’s beyond irritated. Doesn’t Honoria know she hates this man? Forced to make nice, she makes it known to Hugh that she doesn’t not enjoy this arrangement, but will suffer through it because Honoria asked it of her. The more time she spends with him, though, the more she realizes that maybe she doesn’t hate him after all. For his part, Hugh is just as irritated at Lady Sarah. She’s loud and dramatic and down right annoying. But the more time he spends in her company, the more he comes to appreciate her hidden wit and think that maybe she isn’t as bad as he originally thought. Are these two destined for all head over heels, or will they soon learn that all of their original impressions were spot-on?

Sarah is a character I could clearly understand Hugh’s irritation at. She is, in fact, very dramatic. It’s even more annoying because she doesn’t seem to realize that she’s dramatic. She’s also highly opinionated. I can relate to her more than I’d like because I’m also very opinionated. Hopefully I’m less dramatic because I tend to hate drama, but I’ll never see myself through someone else’s eyes, so I guess I’ll never know! But back to Sarah. I admire how loyal she is to her family. The Smythe-Smith brood is intimidatingly large, so it’s no wonder she always has someone hanging about. It must be nice to have such a close-knit family. I must admit that I love her sisters. All of them, but especially Harriet and Frances. They are so terribly darling that I cannot express my love completely. It was so very much fun to watch Sarah discover more about herself. The realization that she is indeed dramatic was a priceless moment.

Hugh was someone I loved immediately. I must confess that I swoon easily for the heroes of historical romances. They are always so dashing, with just the right amount of rakish-ness. Hugh is no exception to that, but he’s a bit different than your average HR male. He’s handsome and charming and witty, as you’d expect, but he’s also went threw a great deal with his leg and then with convincing his father to allow Daniel to live his life in England unscathed. The length he went to to assure that would happen is astounding. You want to both congratulate him on his genius and slap him for being an imbecile. His penchant for maths is astounding as well. I can’t do basic addition without a pencil and paper (or a calculator preferably), but this guy can do them in his head in a matter of seconds. He’s relationship with his father is heart-breaking. Parents are supposed to love you, period.

What can I really say about a JQ novel? She’s brilliant. My favorite thing about her collective works is the humor. She always incorporates wit and humor. Humor is very important to me. Reading is an escape that should make me happy and laughter is the best way to show that happiness. I fear she has spoiled me for all other historical romances. I go into them all expecting JQ levels of awesome and am usually disappointed. How to do you go back to loving mediocre once you’ve had perfection? Beyond my fanatic level of love for all things Julia Quinn, this is also one of my favorite types of stories. That whole I hate you, I like you, I love you dance is always entertaining to watch. It promises epic disputes, witty repartee, and the perfect sigh worthy moments.

Basically, what I’m saying is that this is a novel for everyone. As with most historical romances, even though this is the middle book of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone. It might enhance the experience if you know some of the backstory, but it is by no means necessary. I think anyone who enjoys romance novels of any kind would love this. It’s everything you could want in a novel. 🙂

5 bows
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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 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.