Tag Archive | Funny

A Loyal Companion by Barbara Metzger

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SPOILED AND UNGOVERNED, FITZ WAS NOT SUITABLE COMPANION FOR A LADY OF FASHION….

And certainly no proper chaperon. Fitz begged to disagree–after all, a dog was a true Incomparable as far as friendship, loyalty, and protection–and soon lovely Miss Sonia was plucked by her rusticated roots and packed off, dog and all, to London. Perhaps there she would find a husband to tame her free-spirited ways–and keep her out of trouble.

Sonia, however, always had a soft spot for the underdog, and Darius Conover was such a fellow. Scorned by society for a scandalous deed, Conover was not redeemed even by his heroics in battle. Until he met Sonia and Fitz, two passionate souls undaunted by even the most odious circumstances–and decidedly determined to undo the shackles binding his heart.

Publisher and Release Date: Originally published by Fawcett Crest, February 1992; reissued by Untreed Reads Publishing, May 2012

RHL Classifications:
Time and Setting: Regency England
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 1
Reviewer Rating: 4.5 stars

Review by Patrice

There’s an old warning to actors in showbiz: Never work with children or animals. I don’t suppose this applies to novels when the heroine is equally adorable. The seams of A Loyal Companion are bursting with little ones, a variety of animals and all the mushy, gooey sweetness that comes with them. I’d like to emphasize that the author employs children and animals liberally in her work to bring the characters closer together. I have no complaints about her devices because just like the showbiz warning implies, it’s just so darn, well, cute.

When a wealthy country squire marries a London beauty who is disowned by her family, they are blessed with years of happiness until her untimely death. Alone with memories of happier times with his wife – and the generous company of a village widow or two – he raises his four children: two sons, George and Hugh, and two daughters, Catherine and Sonia, who he calls “Sunny” for her golden looks and lively disposition. Shortly after George’s marriage to an insecure social climber, Sonia is forced into London society and into her maternal grandmother’s care. Lady Almeria, the dowager Duchess of Atterbury, is strong-willed and determined that her rebellious daughter’s mistakes will not be repeated. This does not stop Sunny from befriending the blacklisted Earl of Ware, Darius Conover, an acclaimed war hero with a sordid history that connects him to Lady Rosellen Conover who is married to his cousin Preston.

With her vibrant personality and unassuming country ways, Sunny is headstrong, loyal and loving. Once she decides to befriend Major Conover, she will not be deterred by rumor, the censure of the ton or the formidable Lady Almeria’s threats to ship her off to boarding school. For the first time since her arrival, Sunny feels she has made a true connection to a man. As always, there are scandalmongers and naysayers waiting to destroy the new bonds between the pair.

Sonia “Sunny” Randolph is best described as “knowing her own mind” by her father, Squire Elvin Randolph. He is proud that she is very much like her deceased mother, Lady Allison, who defied her relations to wed him. I would not describe Sunny as an actual tomboy, it’s an limited generalization based on her country manners. She has her own sense of style, and is a natural flirt, without any affectations. I would compare her to a golden wild rose with thorns, a contrast to a hothouse orchid which describes her sister Catherine. Sunny’s confidence and genuine sincerity are what make servants, commoners and the highest peers of the ton like her.

I’m not certain I would have chosen Major Conover for Sunny. He has a ton of emotional and physical scars from fighting on the fronts against Napoleon, as well as those from the vile accusations that lurk at home. Yet the pair are such complete opposites that the attraction works, because Darius is a soldier and Sunny can be herself with him. He is used to responsibility and yet he needs someone like Sunny to fight for him and care for him. Sunny and Fitz the dog are perfect for him in every way.

Fitz the dog, is a gorgeous black sheepdog with white markers from Squire Randolph’s estate, and is Sunny’s companion, much to her grandmother’s displeasure. He is an important character because he helps to bring everyone closer, providing loads of humor, while demonstrating how ridiculous human beings are in situations that are comparably simple for animals.

A Loyal Companion is a delightful tale wherein a plucky country lass meets — and saves — the love of her life. With a little help from her dog, she lures, stalks, and bags her reluctant suitor. To be certain, I’ve always appreciated that whenever dogs are involved in romance, the outcome is a guaranteed HEA for everyone except the villains. It’s a sweet, quick read with loads of witty observations and dialogue that will make you snicker. If you’re a dog lover, who appreciates a hero that is an underdog with a charming heiress dogging his heels, then I recommended this novel for fun times and frolics.

Virtual Tour:Silk and Scandal by Cassandra Dean

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BLURB:

Eight years ago…

Thomas Cartwright and Lady Nicola Fitzgibbons were simply friends. Over the wall separating their homes, Thomas and Nicola talked of all things – his studies to become a barrister, her frustrations with a lady’s limitations.

All things end.

When her diplomat father gains a post in Hong Kong, Nicola must follow. Bored and alone, she falls into scandal, time and again. Mired in his studies of the law and aware of the need for circumspection, Thomas feels forced to sever their ties. Besides, a member of parliament cannot be associated with a woman of scandal—it isn’t proper.

But now Lady Nicola is back in London…and she won’t let Thomas ignore her.

Excerpt:

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Nicola dashed at her cheek. “Then why did you stop writing?”

The concern bled from his features and, dropping her hands, he stood from her. “We shouldn’t have begun a correspondence. We are too far apart in consequence.”

A burn started in her chest. “That is not a reason.”

His brows shot together. “Of course it is. You are the granddaughter of an earl. I am the son of no one. Literally. I do not know who my parents are, Nic. How can it not be a consideration?”

Lord, this was less than a consideration. “Thomas, you are the adopted son of a baronet and his wife. My father likes you, and that is the only care I have. Why can we not be friends?”

He looked as if he still wished to protest, but then his shoulders slumped. “Do you really not know?”

“Thomas, all I wanted was to be your friend.” Stepping closer to him, she took his hand. “It is all I’ve ever wanted.”

A hush fell. Brows drawn, eyes unfathomable, he stared down at her. Of a sudden, she was intensely aware of her breath, of the way her chest rose and fell and how very close he was.

“You think we are friends.”

 

Purchase now from Amazon

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Our Review:

Publisher and Release Date: Decadent Publishing Company LLC, 3rd May 2013.

RHL Classifications:
Time and Setting: 19th Century England
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 1
Reviewer Rating: 4.5 Stars

Review by: Sabrina

We are introduced to Lady Nicola Fitzgibbons and Thomas Cartwright through a series of letters. They have been separated by the diplomatic pursuits of Lady Nicola’s father and are keeping in contact by writing to each other. These letters are playful and intimate and their easy friendship shines through. I imagine it must be hard for authors of short stories to develop characters that readers can fully understand and appreciate, but Cassandra Dean was able to accomplish this through these letters. Lady Nicola said more in one of hers than many characters could show you in a chapter. Nicola is FUN and I want to be her friend. In fact, I want a book on her travels. I would like to experience all of these episodes she hints at.

Thomas is for the most part a straight laced kinda guy who is busy trying to make a career for himself. He loosens up a bit in the letters to Nicola when she teases him, but finds it hard to overlook society’s demands for a perfect reputation. Unexpectedly, the letters from Thomas stop.

When they finally come together eight years later, the chemistry between them is again ignited. Thomas is much more fun with Nicola around and I loved it when he finally asserted himself. The story ends with several more letters between the two and we are treated to their banter. In fact, these letters are hysterical and I found myself laughing out loud more than once. This book has some great lines and I’m glad I had the opportunity to read it.

Giveaway:

Cassandra will be awarding a signed Silk & Scandal postcard and Silk & Scandal magnet to one randomly drawn commenter at each stop. A grand prize of a $25.00 Amazon.com gift card, as well as a signed Silk & Scandal postcard and Silk & Scandal magnet will be awarded to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. (international giveaway)

About the author:

Cassandra grew up daydreaming, inventing fantastical worlds and marvelous adventures. Once she learned to read (First phrase – To the Beach. True story), she was never without a book, reading of other people’s fantastical worlds and marvelous adventures.

Fairy tales, Famous Fives, fantasies and fancies; horror stories, gumshoe detectives, science fiction; Cassandra read it all. Then she discovered Romance and a true passion was born.

So, once upon a time, after making a slight detour into the world of finance, Cassandra tried her hand at writing. After a brief foray into horror, she couldn’t discount her true passion. She started to write Romance and fell head over heels.

The love affair exists to this very day.

Cassandra lives in Adelaide, South Australia.

Website http://cassandradean.com

 

Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare

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What’s a duke to do, when the girl who’s perfectly wrong becomes the woman he can’t live without?
Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, has no desire to wed this season—or any season—but his diabolical mother abducts him to “Spinster Cove” and insists he select a bride from the ladies in residence. Griff decides to teach her a lesson that will end the marriage debate forever. He chooses the serving girl.

Overworked and struggling, Pauline Simms doesn’t dream about dukes. All she wants is to hang up her barmaid apron and open a bookshop. That dream becomes a possibility when an arrogant, sinfully attractive duke offers her a small fortune for a week’s employment. Her duties are simple: submit to his mother’s “duchess training”… and fail miserably.

But in London, Pauline isn’t a miserable failure. She’s a brave, quick-witted, beguiling failure—a woman who ignites Griff’s desire and soothes the darkness in his soul. Keeping Pauline by his side won’t be easy. Even if Society could accept a serving girl duchess—can a roguish duke convince a serving girl to trust him with her heart?

RHL Classifications:
Regency Romance
Heat Level – 2.5
Reviewer Rating: 4 stars

Review by Caz

Any Duchess Will Do is the fourth in Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove series, and it was a truly delightful read.
It’s a kind of cross between Cinderella and Pygmalion (in intention, anyway) in which the Duchess of Halford, despairing of her son, the eighth Duke’s ever marrying, drugs him, kidnaps him and bears him off to ‘Spinster Cove’. She marches him into the Bull and Blossom tavern, into the midst of a large group of industrious young ladies, and issues the instruction – “pick one”. She is tired of waiting for him to find himself a wife and tells him that she’ll mould whoever he chooses into a suitable bride.

Naturally, Griffin York, Duke of Halford is horrified. But recognising that his mother is utterly determined, he decides that the best way to exact his revenge is to do just as she insists – and he chooses the least likely prospect he can find; Pauline Simms, the barmaid.

Still intent on avoiding his mother’s machinations, Griff strikes a bargain with Pauline. If she comes with him to London for a week and ruins the duchess’ plans by being a complete and utter social disaster, he will pay her one thousand pounds. Even though that’s more money than she could ever have hoped to see in her lifetime, Pauline is initially reluctant to leave. Although she and her younger sister live with their parents, Pauline cares for her sister Daniela, who, while only a few years younger than Pauline, has the mind of a child.

But eventually she agrees. One thousand pounds will be enough money for her to attain her dream of opening her own library, and for her and Daniela to move out of their parents’ house and be self-sufficient.

Both Griff and the duchess are very pleasantly surprised by Pauline, who turns out not to be the slatternly farm-girl they’d first thought her. Her speech and manners are ‘common’ to be sure, but underneath it all, she has a natural intelligence and directness that Griff finds refreshing – and it’s not long before he finds himself very much attracted to her.

Griff has lived a dissolute life. He’s never had to worry about money, and spent his time in the manner of rich young men – overindulging in wine, women and… well, perhaps not the song. To his mother’s chagrin, he shows no sign – even at the ripe old age of thirty-four – of wanting to settle down and give her the grandchildren upon whom she’s desperate to lavish all the maternal love she’s got stored up inside. Griff is an only child – his three siblings died at birth and the Halford line will die out with him if he doesn’t marry and set up his nursery.

But about a year before the story opens, something happened to him that has – literally – changed his life. He no longer associates with his old crowd or goes out into society and nobody knows why. He’s morose, filled with anger and continually on edge; he despises himself and his old life and wants desperately to put it behind him, but is finding it impossible to move past the tragedy that has affected him so deeply.

Although Griff and his mother are the only members of their family left, they persist in keeping secrets from each other. He won’t tell her of his troubles and has no idea how to ask for the love he so badly needs; she won’t tell him that she wants so much to love him and the grandchildren she fears she may never have.

Pauline sees this distance between them and doesn’t understand why they can’t take comfort in each other. She guesses it’s another of those things that “aren’t done” by the upper classes, but in her typically straightforward way tries to get them to talk to each other. The scenes in which Griff finally confesses to her – and later to the duchess – are heart-breaking and heart-warming at the same time, as they show that something positive is going to grow out of tragedy.

Despite that, this is a fairly light read that’s full of warmth, humour and sparkling dialogue. Pauline is like a breath of fresh air blowing into the ducal home and is certainly not afraid to tell it like it is. The stuffy, uptight duchess turns out not to be stuffy or uptight at all, and Griff is a wonderfully attractive hero. He’s got a nice line in innuendo and a dry wit – and the book contains some of the best banter I’ve read in a while.

If I have a reservation, it’s that Pauline is just a little bit too good to be true. While she doesn’t end up taking society by storm, she nonetheless refuses to be cowed by those who believe her to be deserving of less – whether it’s her abusive father hitting her with a book and consigning it to the fire or one of Griff’s so-called friends trying to prevent her from entering a ballroom. In addition, she’s intuitive, has a strong sense of identity and a down-to-earth attitude to sex, and seems to know exactly the right thing to do or say in difficult situations.

As for the idea of a duke marrying a barmaid… well, it shouldn’t work and in many books it wouldn’t work. But I think that what we have here is a fairy tale; a story about finding love in the most unexpected places – and more importantly, I think, about finding the courage to free onself from the expectations of others in order to finally become the person one is supposed to be.

With thanks to Avon and Edelweiss for the review copy.

About me

I’m a musician, teacher and mother of two girls and have always been an avid reader. I was introduced to the novels of Jean Plaidy at the age of eleven and have never looked back! I love good, meaty, well-researched historical fiction – whether it’s about real figures (Sharon Penman) or fictional ones (Dorothy Dunnett), but I’m a sucker for a well-written historical romance, too. I post all my reviews at Caz’s Reading Room and at my Goodreads page., so please come and say hello!

The Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vyne (Sydney Dovedale #2) by Jayne Fresina

 

Published: January 1, 2013

Publisher’s Blurb:

By night Ellie Vyne fleeces unsuspecting aristocrats as the dashing Count de Bonneville. By day she avoids her sisters’ matchmaking attempts and dreams up inventive insults to hurl at her childhood nemesis, the arrogant, far-too-handsome-for-his-own-good, James Hartley.

James finally has a lead on the villainous, thieving Count, tracking him to a shady inn. He bursts in on none other than “that Vyne woman” . . . in a shocking state of dishabille. Convinced she is the Count’s mistress, James decides it’s best to keep your enemies close. Very close. In fact, seducing Ellie will be the perfect bait . . .

Tags: Romance, Historical, Humorous, England

Time Frame: England, 1822

Heat Level: 2

REVIEW RATING : 4 stars

REVIEW BY LEE ANNE:

Oh My!  This was a fast-paced funny read. I loved every minute of it!

Ellie Vyne does everything she can to make sure her sisters are taken care of. She makes sure they have wedding trousseaus and dowries. She also makes sure her father has roof over his head his debts are paid. What does she get in return? Scorn, scandal and nothing but problems.

James Hartley has been Ellie’s nemesis since she was a small girl. A family feud that began when she was little and has not been forgotten.  He’s ready to settle down and find a respectable wife that is NOT his grandmother’s choosing. He decides Ellie Vyne is the woman for him.

Little did they know, they would fall in love along the way…….

I found myself snickering and giggling at all the things that go wrong for poor Ellie. All she wants to do is get her family settled so she can retire to the country with books and a dog. Instead she ends up in the most hilarious predicaments. Torn dresses, custard on her rump, mud on her face, are just a few of the things that happen to her. No matter how hard she tries, she ends up in some sort of scandal.

She realizes that she and James can help each other out. She makes an outlandish proposition to him and he agrees! As they attempt to fulfill the requirements of the proposition, they realize each other is more than they originally thought. They slowly begin to fall in love.

But love leads to heartbreak. Especially when secrets are involved. They both have secrets they are scared to share. So, ultimately they think the worst! It was heart-wrenching to watch them hurt each other simply because they couldn’t share their secrets.

Ms. Fresina has created a wonderful story that traverses the ball rooms of London to the country parties in Sydney Dovedale. Using London’s polite society’s penchant for gossip and scandal, she creates a backdrop that is perfect for the story of Ellie and James.

This is the second story in the Sydney Dovedale series. I have not read the first one but I had no problems following the story. I can’t wait to go back and read the first story and it sounds deliciously scandalous!

**This book will be available from Amazon for $5.94**

ABOUT THE REVIEWER:

I am a happily married mother of three very busy children.  Most of my time is spent chauffeuring my kids to their various activities. I cram reading into any spare moment I have. Some days I can have an hour or two and others I’m sneaking in quick reads while waiting on the kids to finish their soccer or gymnastics practice. I like to read a wide variety of genres but I definitely prefer romance. I can’t really pinpoint a favorite author as it changes on a regular basis. I absolutely love finding new authors and giving their stories a chance to be heard. We all have a voice in our heads writing stories and those voices should be given a chance to be heard.

Devil in the Making Illustrated Edition (Devilish Vignettes #1) by Victoria Vane

 Devil in the Making - Illustrated Edition

Published: December 7, 2012

Publisher’s Blurb:

Every devil has a beginning…

A rebellious young nobleman’s prank with the king’s lion goes comically awry, leading to a startling chain of events.

A riotous Georgian romp in the tradition of Fielding’s Tom Jones and a prequel to the Devil DeVere series.

**This title is NOT a romance**

A Note from the Author:

When I first conceived A WILD NIGHT’S BRIDE, a Georgian set, Hangover-inspired romantic comedy, I had no idea that one devilish secondary character would spawn an entire series, but Ludovic, Viscount DeVere, proved to be a dream come true. This larger than life character has captured the hearts of so many fans who have begged for more DeVere.So without further ado…. Here is how it all began….

Excerpt:

“But I know that look, and it always bodes ill.”

“Come now, Ned,” DeVere cajoled. “With only weeks until matriculation, we may never get another chance to serve up some revenge on ole’ Trasker.”

“What have you in mind?” Simon asked.

“Since our dear pedagogue is so fond of bear-leading, why not procure one for him?”

Ned looked stunned. “You wish to buy a bear?”

“Of course not,” DeVere answered.

“Thank God,” Ned replied with a sigh of relief.

“I only wish to borrow one.”

“A bear?” Simon repeated.

“Yes. It can be a small one. As to age, size, or gender. I am not particular.”

“And how do you propose to find one?” Ned asked warily.

DeVere replied with a look of pure devilment. “I propose a midnight foray to the Royal Menagerie.” 

Tags: Devilish Vignettes, Historical, Humorous, Devil DeVere

Time Frame: England 1780’s

Heat Level: 0

REVIEW RATING : 5 stars

REVIEW BY LEE ANNE:

It seems that no matter what, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Young men in university will pull pranks, do things that make you say “doh” and forge life-long friendships so matter the time period. The Devil DeVere and his merry band of friends are wickedly wild and have adventures most will only dream of.

The Devil in the Making is not a romantic story but it is outrageously funny! I found myself snickering at some of their antics while laughing out loud at others. While I tend to gravitate to romance novels, the steamier the better, I absolutely LOVED this vignette! It’s intriguing to see how Devil, Ned, Sin and Charles all met and got to know each other. Seeing how their lives as friends began and all the trouble they got into while at university only leads more credibility to the story A Wild Night’s Bride. I now have a deeper appreciation for that story.

Victoria Vane has painted a beautiful picture, introducing each of the main characters of her later stories. All of this is done with Georgian England as the backdrop for the story. Breaking into the King’s menagerie, facing the wrath of the headmaster at school, facing the unholy wrath of his father and ultimately the wrath of the King, all part of the life of Devil DeVere. He does all these things with a passion for life and take no prisoners attitude. While he draws his friends in to all these outlandish pranks, he still has a heart and refuses to let them take the fall for his misadventures.

One of the lovely things about this book is the illustrations. These wonderful, full-color illustrations add to the overall enjoyment of the book. While each of us imagines something slightly different for the characters we read, it was pure joy to view Ms. Vane’s depictions of the characters. I truly wish there had been a few more illustrations in the book as I was getting such a kick out of them!

For any of you enjoy the Devil DeVere series, you MUST read this vignette. You’ll love it and it’ll give you a deeper appreciation for the Devil himself!

**Currently Available at Amazon for $1.99**

ABOUT THE REVIEWER:

I am a happily married mother of three very busy children.  Most of my time is spent chauffeuring my kids to their various activities. I cram reading into any spare moment I have. Some days I can have an hour or two and others I’m sneaking in quick reads while waiting on the kids to finish their soccer or gymnastics practice. I like to read a wide variety of genres but I definitely prefer romance. I can’t really pinpoint a favorite author as it changes on a regular basis. I absolutely love finding new authors and giving their stories a chance to be heard. We all have a voice in our heads writing stories and those voices should be given a chance to be heard.

An Unlikely Alliance (House of Renwick #2.5) by Rachel Van Dyken

 

Published: February 2012

Publisher’s Blurb:

Spoiled New York rogue Royce Mc Arthur lives a charmed life. He sees no reason to settle down, until his mother issues her decree that he must grow up, find a wife and produce some grandchildren…preferably before she dies of old age. But his choices are quite limited considering the only women of his acquaintance are ones of ill repute.

Meeting the beautiful Evelyn DeJarlias at a ball gives him hope he may have found the one. Her southern blue collar outspokenness and lack of refinement draws him like a moth to a flame. Unfortunately, she does not find him nearly as endearing — consistently refusing his lavish gifts and his attentions, she poses a challenge he simply cannot ignore.

When his mother and her widowed father begin to keep company together secretly, it provides the perfect excuse for him to spend time with Miss DeJarlias

But figures from Royce’s past threaten to destroy the blossoming love between the couple. Evelyn must decide if she is willing to trust the man or hold his past indiscretions against him.

Tags: Romance, Historical, Funny, New York

Time Frame: New York, 1814

Heat Level: 1

REVIEW RATING : 5 stars

REVIEW BY LEE ANNE:

Oh my goodness! I had the extreme privilege of picking this book up for free from Amazon and am I ever glad I did! It’s funny and sweet and romantic. I loved it!

Royce is a rake who has been ordered by his mother to get married in 4 months. None of the women in New York hold any interest for him. Then he meets Evelyn. Evelyn is a breath of fresh air. She grew up in Louisiana on a farm. When her father was able to sell their farm for a lot of money, they move to New York so Evelyn could be launched into society.

Royce decides he wants Evelyn as his wife. None of his usual seduction techniques work on Evelyn. She doesn’t want jewelry, flowers, or any other gifts. She just wants to enjoy life. He sets out to win her over by spying on his mother and her father, who are meeting in secret. Along the way they fall in love.

But the world is not all roses. Evelyn catches Royce coming out of a house of ill repute. Now she’s mad. How will he win her back?

This was a very humorous story that had me giggling throughout. I plan to get the rest of this series and read them all. I find Ms. Van Dyken to have a wicked sense of humor in her writing!

**At the time of review this book was available from Amazon for $1.99**

ABOUT THE REVIEWER:

I am a happily married mother of three very busy children.  Most of my time is spent chauffeuring my kids to their various activities. I cram reading into any spare moment I have. Some days I can have an hour or two and others I’m sneaking in quick reads while waiting on the kids to finish their soccer or gymnastics practice. I like to read a wide variety of genres but I definitely prefer romance. I can’t really pinpoint a favorite author as it changes on a regular basis. I absolutely love finding new authors and giving their stories a chance to be heard. We all have a voice in our heads writing stories and those voices should be given a chance to be heard.