Beautiful Review from BookPage!

SCANDALOUS

BookPage review by Elizabeth Mazer

In the latest installment of the Outcasts series, author Miranda Spencer shows that she has by no means lost her taste for juicy, refreshingly shocking characters that throw proper London society into a tizzy.

Martin Bouchard, captain of the Golden Scythe will be familiar to her readers. The New Orleans–born privateer has been a recurring character in the first two books of the series, and the story opens with him seizing a Dutch slave ship and finding, among the human cargo, someone he never could have expected. Sarah Fisher was born and raised in Africa and seized by the slavers along with the rest of the villagers, despite being the Caucasian daughter of British missionaries. When she’s freed by Martin—or rather, when her freedom is confirmed, since she starts the process herself through the audacious theft of the slaving captain’s gun—arrangements are made for her to be transported to England, courtesy of the Golden Scythe. While Sarah thinks of herself as plain (and tall, for that matter) and therefore entirely unlikely to entice the gorgeous, notorious, sin-poured-into-breeches captain, it doesn’t take long for her to fascinate, irritate, educate and enflame him. They clash—a lot. They say the wrong things and hurt each other—a lot. Their attraction is palpable (and very, very obvious to everyone around them) but at times it truly does seem like they’ll never be able to overcome the obstacles they keep putting in their own way.

Sarah is self-conscious about her looks and wounded by a lifetime of feeling undesired and out of place, and so she struggles to accept or even recognize Martin’s fascination with her. And Martin, wounded by secrets from his past and his own feelings of unworthiness, bristles with jealousy and what seems to be a deep streak of self-loathing that leads him to not just push but actively hurl everyone away from him. They’re complicated characters, and their journey to love and happiness is far from easy.

It would be clichéd to say that in the end, love sets them free. It also wouldn’t be quite true. Love actually comes early on, even if neither of them wants to admit it. Freedom comes later—and it’s something they have to embrace before they can truly let love in. Spencer enjoys poking at the delicate scales of power in Regency society. While her characters move in the highest echelons, they’ve all struggled with powerlessness and disdain in various forms. Sarah’s struggles would seem at first to be the most challenging—after all, she begins the story in the hold of a slave ship. But it’s Martin, a former slave himself, who carries the weight of his bondage, even years after gaining his liberty. When he lets go of that burden and finally accepts that his past doesn’t have to control his future, he’s truly set free. Free to love and accept love in return—and free to live happily ever after. 

Awesome STARRED review for SCANDALOUS!

What a lovely surprise to get this review from PUBLISHERS WEEKLY!

SCANDALOUS by Minerva Spencer 

 “Complex characters make this historical romance a standout. The illustrious privateer Capt. Martín Bouchard has loved many women, but none has enticed or frustrated him more than the missionary Sarah Fisher, whom he saves, along with hundreds of others, from a slave ship. No matter how infuriating he gets, Sarah remains intrigued with the surly captain, and she quickly becomes admired by his crew for her strong and noble spirit. When they discover that the captain of the slave ship is Dutch royalty, they agree with port authorities to take him to England to meet his fate. Sarah and Martín keep winding up in compromising positions, unable to tame their desire for each other. Martín wants to keep Sarah at a distance to protect the secrets of his painful past and true identity, but that doesn’t stop the forgiving woman from getting under his skin and arousing emotions he’s never experienced. Blackmail makes its way into the ballroom, but Martín is a formidable adversary backed by powerful, loyal friends. Spencer’s brilliant and original tale of the high seas bursts with wonderfully real protagonists, plenty of action, and passionate romance.”

–  Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW

Book review of Christina Britton’s debut novel WITH LOVE IN SIGHT

With Love in Sight (Twice Shy, #1)With Love in Sight by Christina Britton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m a sucker for historical romance books with chicks who wear specs and With Love in Sight is no exception.

I liked Caleb, but I must admit I was partial to Imogen and enjoyed her inner workings and watching her personal growth over the course of the book.

Britton does an excellent job developing a couple of my favorite tropes: the wallflower/scrappy spinster and the-rake-with-a-heart-of-gold. I thought she deviated enough from the standard treatments to keep the story fresh and interesting.

There were a couple of points where I wanted to bash the characters’ heads together and yell WAKE UP! but that happens in any fulfilling romance at some point novel, historical or contemporary and Britton was careful not to bog down the story with any TSTL characters.

Overall I found her style engaging and the story kept me turning the pages and rooting for love. I’d read another Britton book in a heartbeat.

View all my reviews

The Devilish Duke by Maddison Michaels

The Devilish DukeThe Devilish Duke by Maddison Michaels
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Who doesn’t love a devilish duke? Especially one who has a butt like the guy on the cover of this book!? And there is nothing I like more than a businesslike marriage of convenience that quickly skates over the edge into pleasure.

Anyhow, I hugely enjoyed this Victorian romance and found the mystery that is skillfully woven throughout the story an added bonus. Excellent chemistry between Devlin and Sophie and just enough bickering and tension to keep me turning pages, but not make me want to throttle either of them.

Michaels writes a fast-paced and well-conceived story and I was glad when Devlin and Sophie got their happily ever after, but sorry the story had to end!

View all my reviews

The Marine’s Secret Daughter by Carrie Nichols

The Marine's Secret Daughter (Small-Town Sweethearts #1)The Marine’s Secret Daughter by Carrie Nichols

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is perfect for those times when you are in need of some authentic, uplifting, and rewarding entertainment! Nichols does a great job painting a multi-dimensional picture of small town life. I personally find a romance that centers around ordinary people (rather than billionaires and super models) a refreshing change.

I really liked both Riley and Meg while alternately wanting to grab and shake them both from time to time when they did something stubborn or stupid. I’ve never read a secret baby novel before and found myself thinking about the decision to keep such a monumental secret from the father. I have to admit that colored my perceptions about Meg and I definitely thought Riley had quite a bit to be angry about.

Nichols handles their reconciliation in a way that is both deft and fulfilling. Lots of good humor make this a very fun read!

This is a wonderfully touching and down-to-earth debut and I think Nichols has some serious chops. I’d definitely read a second book by Ms. Nichols.

View all my reviews

Review of : And the Next Thing You Know, by Chase Taylor Hackett

And the next Thing You Know . . . (Why You?, #2)And the next Thing You Know . . . by Chase Taylor Hackett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book came at a perfect time! I had just finished back to back weepers (see reviews for Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality and Sugar Money) and I really, really needed something that made me laugh and smile.

I honestly cannot recall reading a more consistently hilarious romance other than The Hating Game.

Chase Taylor Hackett writes laugh-out-loud dialogue. I picked up the book because I was intrigued by Jeffrey, the angry-lawyer-sleeping-his-way-through-NYC. I have to admit that Jeffrey is still my favorite, but I did end up liking Theo a lot, mainly because he is such an impervious, amusing butthead (yes, I have a weakness for that).

Anyhow, the story takes place from the perspective of multiple POVs, but mainly Jeffrey, Theo, and Thomas. The story is fast-paced and you get into the characters heads pretty deeply as the author does a great job of making you root for them. There are some heavy moments and some important themes, but the book is not dark and depressing.

I think good comedy is the hardest thing to write, but Hackett kept me rolling on the floor even though I am most likely not his intended reader (a 50 year-old). And of course the ending was wonderfully fulfilling and romantic…

5 stars!

View all my reviews

Book Review: Animal Hats

Animal Hats: 15 patterns to knit and show offAnimal Hats: 15 patterns to knit and show off by Vanessa Mooncie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was shocked to see I am not the only person around with an obsession for animal hats. I haven’t knitted any animal hats, but here are a few I crocheted.

 

 

I’m much more comfortable with a crochet hook than I am with knitting needles so I just made up these hats as I went along. But for a knitted hat, I knew I would need a pattern.

I am currently making the rabbit hat and plan to tackle the more difficult elephant hat if that goes well.

So far I’m impressed with the book and find the instructions very straightforward and easy to understand. I like that each pattern lists yarn weights (mostly chunky) along with specific brand names. I am using Lion brand Thick and Quick for the rabbit hat instead of the Rowan Chunky Felted Tweed the book has listed. I love Rowan yarns but at $12.95/skein (If you can find it) that would put this hat (the pattern calls for 5 skeins) at just under $65, which I’m not willing to pay.   I dropped a needle size to get the right size for my gauge swatch.

None of the patterns are rated for skill level, but it is pretty clear by looking at them how difficult or easy they will be. The dog and frog hats, for example, look easier than the elephant or rabbit or cow.

The patterns all include both child and adult sizes.

Stay tuned for pictures as I promise to actually take some during the process this time!

I was planning to make these as Christmas gifts, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to give them away…

View all my reviews