The Countess Conspiracy

Courtney Milan

13489925

Just when I think a plot is a little farfetched, damn if NPR doesn’t do a segment on someone exactly like the heroine. This is the case with Violet, a brilliant plant scientist whose experiments with genetics reveals the idea of chromosomes carrying the genetic material that gives plants their characteristics. Unfortunately for Violet, she is stuck in a time period where women simply don’t do science, much less science studying the sex lives of plants. She is forced to hide behind a man to present her ideas as his.

Unfortunately, Sebastian, her life-long friend, is tired of the lying and posturing that being the public face of her discoveries requires. He has loved Violet since childhood and encourages her to step out of the shadows to take credit for her own brilliant work.

Another fact-based Milan novel with a strong heroine and a loving hero who values her for her strength.

Advertisements

Second Sight

Amanda Quick

155659

After one night of passion, Venetia Milton is stunned to read of Gabriel Jones’ death. However, the sizable fee she earned by photographing the artifacts belonging to the Arcane Society is enough for her to embark on a career as a society photographer. Taking on the persona of a widow, ‘Mrs Jones’ is doing quite well. Then Gabriel Jones miraculously returns from the dead, ready to take up his life as her husband.

Of course, this barely scratches the surface of an intricate plot involving artifacts, secret society, and several attempts on Venetia’s life.

Quick never makes a misstep threading her way through the intricacies of plot, all the while weaving a skein of thread around the growing love between Venetia and Gabriel.

After the Wedding

Courtney Milan

22817537

One thing I like about Courtney Milan’s books is their unpredictability. Her characters are all different from what I am used to reading. She seems to have an inexhaustible variety of problems and situations at her finger tips.

This book, unlike some I have read, have two characters who are not at all sure they love one another. Sure, they feel a physical attraction. Certainly, there is mutual respect and friendship, gratitude even. But love? Love, surely, is something quite different. It takes them quite a while to realize that all these elements are present when you love someone.

The hero, who is black by the way, is looking for a love like his parents had. Slow building over the years, not something that can happen in a matter of weeks.

The heroine has never felt love. She thinks she merely doesn’t want to be abandoned again. Of course she loves him. She would love anyone who gave her half a chance. She has been so beaten down by life, she is willing to go with anyone who has a kind word. This can’t be real love.

Both of them are slow to recognize love when it is staring them in the face. But they figure it out. Eventually.

Thanks to Netgalley for ARC.

The Rake and the Recluse

Jenn LeBlanc

10250929

This book falls under the heading of ‘guilty pleasure.’ I know I should be reading quality literature, but sometime I like a low-brow romp. This book is full of crazy sauce, but it has my catnip, a time-slip romance. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, time slip is a story based on the premise that someone (almost always a woman) loses consciousness and wakes up in the past. In this case, Francine is on her way to make a presentation, has an accident  in the cab, and wakes up in the late 19th century. She is on the run from an abusive male, and falls under the carriage of a duke. He rescues her, and it’s love at first sight.

That’s the first half of the book. The second is the story of Perry, the younger brother of the duke, who finds a servant girl hiding in his carriage as he returns to London. She has been beaten and abused by the same man who attacked Francine. She persuades Perry to take  her to London, and he agrees. Again, it’s love at first sight.

Both stories are in the same book, so you definitely get your money’s worth, plus there are photographs taken by the author, which illustrate key moments.

The writing is adequate, and if you are willing to suspend your disbelief and go along for the ride, this book is a  lot of fun.

A Kiss for Midwinter

Courtney Milan

16116470

I have to laugh at people who snark at writers and readers of romance as a group of mouth breathers who don’t read real books. Courtney Milan, with her graduate degree from UC Berkeley and law degree from University of Michigan, give the lie to this prejudice. She writes some of the smartest historical romance and contemporary romance available today. I tend to lean toward her historical romance, and this series is one of my favorites.

As part of the Brothers Sinister series, this novella falls between The Duchess War and The Heiress Effect. Lydia Charingford has a secret, one that blights her life. However she puts a cheerful face on it, and seems to be doing well, until her paths cross the one man who can reveal her secret and ruin her life.

Dr Jonas Grantham has no intention of revealing her secret. In fact, he has been in love with Lydia for nearly a year. He has a plan to make her his, if only his plan doesn’t go awry.

Every step of the way, we are cheering Jonas on, and Courtney doesn’t disappoint us, but Jonas really has to work for it. The 11th prettiest girl he knows isn’t going to fall into his lap like a ripe plum.

The Duchess War

Courtney Milan

13489919

I love books by Courtney Milan. She never disappoints. Her heroines are so smart and independent and her heroes are so appreciative.

Far from chasing a husband, Minerva Lane is trying to avoid attention. That ploy fails her when she catches the eye of the Duke of Clermont. He realizes there’s more to her than meets the eye, and he is determined to pursue her. She is equally determined to elude him.

Smart, smart, smart.

 

 

The Paid Companion

Amanda Quick

6193606

Elenora Lodge is in a fix. She is suddenly penniless and friendless. Her gentle upbringing has made her unsuited for work other than that of a paid companion. Unfortunately her intelligence and independence also make her unsuitable for that.

The Earl of St Merryn needs a woman. A woman to pose as his fiancee to draw off the mother/daughter pairs in society that will interfere with his determination to find his father’s killer.

The two were made for each other.

Reckless

Amanda Quick

8152887

I like Amanda Quick a lot, mostly for her independent, strong heroines, but this book just didn’t do it for me. I found her heroine, with her attitude toward the hero silly, and the hero, with his background of piracy combined with a penchant for writing romance novels, unbelievable. The whole book was forgettable.

The plot involved finding a book the heroine believed to be lost turning up again. She and the hero are on a quest to find it. In the search, they fall in love, learn each other’s secrets, and get married.

A light read, for a summer day, but Quick has written better.

Ravished

Amanda Quick

Ravished by [Quick, Amanda]

This Beauty and the Beast romance features Harriet, a 25-year-old unmarried woman who is more interested in her prehistoric bones than in husband hunting. She believes her bones are safe in a secret cave, until they are threatened by a gang of thieves who use the cave as a hiding place to stash their loot. Afraid of being found out, Harriet enlists the aid of Gideon, the Beast of Blackthorne Hall, a man with scars both on his face and in his soul.

This delightful read is pure Amanda Quick, with memorable characters and believable plot twists and turns. Pure delight.