How to Marry a Marquis

 Take a woman who needs to marry for money, a Marquis in disguise, a “rule-book”  for landing a man and an interfering old lady, mix it with Julia Quinn’s distinctive writing style and you get a fantastic story full of humour, romance and of course a happy ending.

Elizabeth Hotchkiss has three siblings to support and decides she must marry for money. Finding ‘How to marry a Marquis’ in her employer’s library seems to be a sign and, against her better judgement, she allows her sister to talk her into reading it.

James Sidwell, the Marquis of Riverdale has been summoned by his aunt to search for a blackmailer but he must go incognito as her estate manager. His primary suspect is his aunt’s companion Elizabeth, but he soon finds himself intrigued and distracted by her – particularly when he finds her with that ridiculous rule-book.

I love Julia Quinn’s writing style which is quite different from a lot of other writers of historical romance, her sarcasm and wit simply fly off the pages. I love the interaction and banter between the characters and really feel for James who at times is bursting to tell Elizabeth who he really is, particularly when she says “Don’t say any more”, she said laughing. “Really James, one shouldn’t strut like an aristocrat if one cannot carry it off”.  This just after he had used his best aristocratic voice and stare on her.

The aunt in question here is Lady Danbury and those of you familiar with Ms Quinn’s work will recognize her from previous books. She is a fantastic character and really comes into her own in this story. Elizabeth has been with Lady Danbury long enough to give as good as she gets which makes for some funny conversations

The story definitely has some flaws and Elizabeth in particular is a bit of a martyr at times which I can imagine would annoy some readers, but for me, I absolutely loved it so have given it 5 stars. Not because it is perfect, but because for me it is one of those books that just clicked – not entirely sure why but there it is.

If you have read other books by this author you will definitely enjoy this one.

Book Information
  • Author: Julia Quinn
  • Series: Agents for the Crown (2)
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Rating: ★★★★★ 

 

The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After

 The Bridgerton family stories are told in a series of eight books, all humorous, emotional and above all romantic. They are some of my favourite historical romances ever, and I highly recommend you read them. Once you start you won’t want to stop until they are all done!

The great thing about these books is that every one has an epilogue looking into the future but I always want more. I want to know how the children grew up, and if everything is still going well in Bridgerton land. That is why I was thrilled to discover this collection of ‘second epilogues’, an opportunity to look  further down the line and see what has happened since we last met.

This collection of stories does not disappoint, from the pall mall game (even better than the original scene in The Viscount Who Loved Me) to the elusive jewels and so much more. There is even a short story about the great matriarch of the family Violet. The author has a little note at the beginning of each story to jog your memory, so if you had not read the original books for a while it would not matter.

I would definitely recommend reading the rest of the series first, as it is intended as a follow up and you cannot truly appreciate the characters without that background knowledge. Having said that, you could get away with not having read every single one, as long as you were acquainted with this unconventional and powerful family.

I loved this collection, love the Bridgertons and love Ms. Quinn for writing the stories that I, and I’m sure so many of her readers, were desperate for. Thank you!

The Bridgerton Series in Order :

The Duke and I
The Viscount Who Loved Me
An Offer From a Gentleman
Romancing Mr Bridgerton
To Sir Philip, With Love
When He Was Wicked
It’s In His Kiss
On The Way To The Wedding
The Bridgertons: Happy Ever After

Book Information
  • Author: Julia Quinn
  • Series: Bridgertons (9)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Rating: ★★★★★ 

2013 – A bookish year

 So another year is behind us and in spite of the personal life stuff going on resulting in the dearth of reviews, reading was still going on behind the scenes.

So what books made us sit up and beg?

Grete

The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett – The fantastic third book in the Demon Cycle.

Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole – Military sci-fi with superheroes.  This second book was an excellent addition to the Shadow Ops series.

Abaddon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey – This series needs to be on either the big or small screen – any screen!  Until then it’s an amazing sci-fi story and this third book was a brilliant addition to the Expanse.

Parasite by Mira Grant – An amazingly creepy but riveting novel. If you liked her Newsflesh trilogy, you are going to love this!

Kevin HearneThe Iron Druid Chronicles was a series that entranced me so much, I ended up romping through and didn’t take time to review.  It’s a fantastic series and one I will be re-reading, slower this time, so I can actually do reviews!

Bound by Night by Larissa Ione – The first in a new series by Larissa and just as exciting as her Demonica/Lords of Deliverance.  Speaking of which, the next book in that series, Reaver, is on this list too as it was utterly fantastic and had my jaw dropping several times as things were revealed.

Fifth Grave Past the Light by Darynda Jones – This is another series I love so much that I keep racing through them and end up not reviewing.  It’s a habit I really have to stop as my memory is just not up to it these days!  Charley Davidson is one of my favourite paranormal heroines and I just can’t get enough of her!

Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon – I loved, loved, loved this book.  I cried, I laughed, I may have shouted a few times.  A worthy companion to Acheron and a brilliant addition to the Dark-Hunter’s series.  It does take you through the wringer though!

The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty – I absolutely loved this light hearted approach to the paranormal and look forward to the next one, out this year!

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan – A gritty and powerful epic fantasy debut.  I loved the magic system he devised and I hold high hopes for the second book.

Ice Forged by Gail Z. Martin – First in a new series by Gail and it’s off to a promising start.  I loved her two previous series a lot so it had a lot to live up to!  Looking forward to book two!

J.D. Robb – Thanks to Tracey, I discovered the In Death series and devoured the whole lot one after the other.  It amazed me how good they are and how, even 35+ books in, they are still extremely enjoyable and great reads.

Watch Your Back by Karen Rose – So many of Karen’s books have characters that appear or are related to people in other novels and this one felt like it had been a long time coming.  It was utterly amazing and prompted me to go back and read ALL the previous books!

Blood Song by Anthony Ryan – This book honestly surprised me and I’m annoyed at myself that I didn’t do a review after I read it, as it so very much deserved it.  It’s an amazingly gritty fantasy, written with a single focus and I urge anyone who loved David Gemmell’s work to pick this up.  I will be re-reading this (and reviewing this time, dammit)!

Unseen by Karin Slaughter – Every time I think Karin has outdone herself, she releases the next book and raises the bar even higher.  I can’t get enough of Will Trent and Sara Linton!

Lover at Last by J.R. Ward – The latest book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series was hotly anticipated and I was not left disappointed!

Tracey

While my list has some similar ones to Grete, I also have some totally different genres to her.  Being much more of a romantic sap, it will come as no surprise that I have a number of romances on my list.

The books I share Grete’s love for are :

Styxx of course – the most anticipated book of the year for me and one that did not disappoint. Probably my book of the year!

Reaver by Larissa Ione – another eagerly awaited novel that ticked all the boxes for me.

The In Death series by J.D. Robb – I read all 35 books in 4 weeks and absolutely loved them.

For me though the year was all about romance! There were books from my favourite romance authors: Stephanie Laurens, Eloisa James, Julia Quinn, Sarah MacLean and Sarah Morgan.

I really cannot express all the books that I loved this year, I read well over 100 of them! Since I tend to read books I know I will enjoy, it is so hard to only pick a few.

If I was to recommend a few books to other readers I would go with the following:

Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan – I have been a fan of Ms. Morgan for many years, reading all her Mills and Boon books and it was great to have a longer book to enjoy. This is romance at its best and a great start to a new series.

Nora Roberts has featured heavily in my reading this year but a trilogy I particularly enjoyed was the Key Trilogy – Key of Light, Key of Knowledge and Key of Valour. This has a paranormal slant with Ms. Roberts’ usual excellent romance story.

Sarah MacLean’s Rules of Scoundrels series is recommended reading, particularity if you enjoy historical romance. I have loved all the books in this series and look forward to the next one hopefully coming in 2014!

Will definitely be doing more reviews this year, even if only a few lines, there are so many great books I want to share my love of.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sum of all kisses

 Hugh Prentice has never had patience for dramatic females, and if Lady Sarah Pleinsworth has ever been acquainted with the words shy or retiring, she’s long since tossed them out the window. Besides, a reckless duel has left this brilliant mathematician with a ruined leg, and now he could never court a woman like Sarah, much less dream of marrying her.

This is the third novel in the Smythe-Smith quartet and another great book from Ms. Quinn. Something I always love about her work is the way she wraps romance and humour around a great story-line.

The prologue refers to the same event as the prologue in the previous book but it’s told from the other point of view, and the fall out from that comes to a head towards the end of this book in a dramatic fashion.

Sarah is a complete drama queen and does everything in the most dramatic fashion possible, Hugh is a bit of a nerd and the sparks that fly when they interact are anything but boring. Hugh has a damaged leg and emotional scars but an imperfect man is always more loveable!

Of course no book in this series would be complete without the usual references to the annual musicale and it’s hilarious watching Sarah and her cousin Iris trying to dissuade Daisy from performing an impromptu performance.

The minor characters in this book are as great as the protagonists, in particular Sarah’s youngest sister Frances who steals the show at times.

Overall a great book with equal parts humour and romance, a must for fans of Julia Quinn.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Julia Quinn
  • Series: Smythe-Smith Quartet (3)
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An Offer from a Gentleman

 Sophie Beckett is the illegitimate daughter of an Earl. While she was accepted into his household, her stepmother never let her forget she was a bastard. When her father died suddenly she was made to work as an unpaid servant, dreaming of what her life could be like. When the servants conspire to send her to the Bridgerton masquerade ball, her life changes forever.

Benedict Bridgerton is still single and avoiding the matchmakers as best he can. At his mother’s ball he is captivated by a stranger, falls head over heels in love, only for her to disappear at midnight leaving only her glove. Sophie is forced to leave her home the next day and Benedict searches high and low for the mystery woman to no avail. Two years on, no-one has stirred him like the mysterious woman until the day he rescues a servant from a fate worse than death.

Well what can I say, my favourite fairytale ever – Cinderella given a new twist. This book is the best yet in the Bridgerton saga and I loved it. Benedict is much more self assured and does not have the inner demons of his elder brother, the advantage of being the second son. Good job too because Sophie has enough secrets for both of them.

I felt like weeping for Sophie at times and at other times I wanted to knock some sense into both her and Benedict! I know they are only characters in a story but I find myself thinking about them as real people rather than characters. I became completely immersed in the story and the Bridgerton family. Towards the end when Benedict’s mother (Violet) gets the opportunity to speak her mind very frankly, I felt like shouting “you go girl” – totally inappropriate in Regency England of course!

This is pure escapism and of course the end result is a given, but as always, the journey there is never easy and the showdown in the jail towards the end is definitely worth waiting for.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Julia Quinn
  • Series: Bridgertons (3)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

 

Tracey’s Week in Books – Week 10, 2013

 This week started with me finishing off Serpent’s Kiss by Thea Harrison, another good book and a worthy addition to the series – check out my full review here.

Next I plucked Simply Magic by Mary Balogh out of my book pile and the title says it all! I really enjoy this author’s work, her premise is usually quite simple, very romantic and so well written. There were a couple of things I felt were left hanging without being resolved properly but a definite 4 star book for me and I totally fell in love with the hero myself, at numerous points in the story. This is the third in a series but I do not feel I missed out by not reading the others first.

My next book was by a new author for me – One Deadly Sin by Annie Solomon and I would only give this 2.5 stars. I hated the heroine and could not really put my finger on why, but I didn’t warm up to her at all and the hero also didn’t do much for me either! I nearly gave up half way through but the suspense plot kept me reading and the last quarter of the book picked up pace leading to a very unexpected ending. So 2.5 stars because the plot was good but no higher because I didn’t like the protagonists.

Shadow dance by Susan Anderson was up next. This was a good book and I’m giving it 4.5 stars. This is one of her earliest books and is a romantic suspense. I absolutely loved loved loved the hero and the build up between him and Amanda. There was a good suspense plot going on but for me the interaction between the protagonists was the highlight.

How to Marry a Marquis by Julia Quinn was my next book – This was brilliant, and a 5 star review is coming soon. I completely adored the story and the protagonists.

That concludes my reading for this week, haven’t decided what to start next – all will be revealed next week!


Tracey’s Week in Books is a regular blog post from Tracey, catching up on everything she’s read recently.

 

The Viscount Who Loved Me

Anthony Bridgerton needs a wife, a suitable, sweet and biddable wife. Edwina Sheffield is the pick of the current crop of débutantes and so he sets out to make her his bride. Unfortunately to get to Edwina, Anthony has to go through her sister Kate, who is determined Edwina will never have to marry for convenience and certainly not to a rake of the highest order.

When Kate and Anthony get together sparks fly but just as he thinks he may be gaining her approval, he makes the mistake of kissing her.

I really enjoyed this book and like the first one in the series it had some very humorous moments. I enjoyed the take on the overprotective sibling being a sister instead of a brother, giving Anthony a taste of his own medicine. While it is always obvious knowing who will end up with who, it is always fun trying to guess how they will get there. I definitely did not see the situation coming that caused such a stir among society!

It was good to catch up with the Bridgerton family again although we did not see as much of the other brothers and sisters this time round. The focus was very much on Anthony and Kate and their inner demons – and they have a few!

I have not read many books by Julia Quinn but the few I have read are simply whetting my appetite for more. I enjoy the romance, the unorthodox way of getting there and her style of writing which means the story flows easily. I also love the way she manages to mix humour into her stories.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Julia Quinn
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

The Duke and I

Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings, finds himself besieged by all the mamas of the ton looking for a suitable husband for their darling daughters. Frustrated with the relentless pursuit, he has vowed he will never marry.

Daphne Bridgerton has had two seasons in London but is holding out for a husband she has at least some affection for. Her mother is determined to push every eligible bachelor her way and the balls are becoming one nightmare after another.

Simon is an old friend of her overprotective brothers and after meeting, Simon and Daphne hatch a plot to avoid their perpetual nightmare.  They pretend to be courting for the season ensuring her mother is happy and his matchmaking mothers look elsewhere.

All seems to be going well until their desire for each other gets out of control and the situation moves to pistols at dawn!

This book was really enjoyable and had some very humorous moments. I particularly enjoyed Daphne receiving the ‘talk’ from her mother – oh how things were different in those days! I also experienced sadness at times, especially as Quinn describes Simon’s childhood experiences.  In fact Julia’s writing made me feel all sorts of different emotions, exactly what I want from a good story.

Unlike several similar books there was not as much focus on society, the ways of 19th century England and the rituals of the ton. Julia focused very much on the Bridgerton family and the relationship between Simon and Daphne which was definitely good enough to keep the story flowing nicely. I love Daphne’s mother, and the behaviour of her youngest brother and sister had me giggling to myself at times.

This is not, by any means, a sickly sweet romance despite the focus being primarily on Simon and Daphne and I am very excited to have discovered a new series which has enough brothers and sisters (thus books!) to keep me going for a while.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Julia Quinn
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)