February 16, 2012 / 8:41PM 7 notes

Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
I love you, GIS. How I wish I could have been reading the paper version of this book on the train.
Okay, first of all, we all know that romance titles are basically afterthoughts and they’re all basically the same and usually I just let it go, but I want to take a second and bitch. This book takes place in spring, to be sure, but there is not even a whiff of scandal. In fact, Daisy, the youngest Wallflower, who we may remember from such romance novels as the rest of the Wallflower series, ends up marrying the very man her father picked out for her. THAT’S NOT A SCANDAL. I mean, I guess any out-of-wedlock sexxing counts as a scandal, but ugh. Can you just PRETEND to even care a tiny bit, romance editors?
Oh yeah, spoiler alert. Or whatever. Did you really think this was going to have a surprise twist ending?
Daisy is the youngest Wallflower, like I said above, and she’s the dreamiest and she spends most of her life buried in a trashy book. A girl after our own heart, right? Much like her sister Lillian, she’s funny, sly, and smart. Like the rest of the Wallflowers, she’s very pleasant company and a terrific heroine. Matthew Swift, her intended, is very broody and smart and has a tragic past and whatever he’s kind of boring, okay? I mean, not compared to a lot of romance novel dudes, but when compared to the Earl of Westcliff (I STILL remember that sex scene) or, be still my heart, St. Vincent, he doesn’t quite measure up. 
That said, this is a tremendously fun read, and after a break from Lisa Kleypas and a bit of reflection, I find that I really, REALLY enjoyed this whole series and her accurate and respectful take on female friendships. She never resorted to cliche and each of the Wallflowers felt like a fully-developed character to me. She was able to keep the characters interacting with each other in a way that did not feel like a Token Series Mention.
If you like historical romance, you really need to read the Wallflower series. That’s all.

Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

I love you, GIS. How I wish I could have been reading the paper version of this book on the train.

Okay, first of all, we all know that romance titles are basically afterthoughts and they’re all basically the same and usually I just let it go, but I want to take a second and bitch. This book takes place in spring, to be sure, but there is not even a whiff of scandal. In fact, Daisy, the youngest Wallflower, who we may remember from such romance novels as the rest of the Wallflower series, ends up marrying the very man her father picked out for her. THAT’S NOT A SCANDAL. I mean, I guess any out-of-wedlock sexxing counts as a scandal, but ugh. Can you just PRETEND to even care a tiny bit, romance editors?

Oh yeah, spoiler alert. Or whatever. Did you really think this was going to have a surprise twist ending?

Daisy is the youngest Wallflower, like I said above, and she’s the dreamiest and she spends most of her life buried in a trashy book. A girl after our own heart, right? Much like her sister Lillian, she’s funny, sly, and smart. Like the rest of the Wallflowers, she’s very pleasant company and a terrific heroine. Matthew Swift, her intended, is very broody and smart and has a tragic past and whatever he’s kind of boring, okay? I mean, not compared to a lot of romance novel dudes, but when compared to the Earl of Westcliff (I STILL remember that sex scene) or, be still my heart, St. Vincent, he doesn’t quite measure up. 

That said, this is a tremendously fun read, and after a break from Lisa Kleypas and a bit of reflection, I find that I really, REALLY enjoyed this whole series and her accurate and respectful take on female friendships. She never resorted to cliche and each of the Wallflowers felt like a fully-developed character to me. She was able to keep the characters interacting with each other in a way that did not feel like a Token Series Mention.

If you like historical romance, you really need to read the Wallflower series. That’s all.

short and sweetor short and half-assed?bookslitromance novelsLisa Kleypaswallflower seriesscandal in spring

Photo post
January 13, 2012 / 10:00AM 5 notes

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor (Friday Harbor #1) by Lisa Kleypas

In A Nutshell

  •  
    • Genre: Contemporary Romance, Holiday, Chick-Lit
    • Notes: Not the strongest Kleypas I’ve ever read, but a perfect, short holiday themed jaunt perfect for the festive season.
    • Recommended For: Kleypas fans, and people looking for a Holiday themed romance that isn’t complete crap.

Not my usual style read, but perfect on a snowy day in December with some hot chocolate … It would probably make more sense to review this during the holiday season, but as I recently read it I wanted to get this review out now so that people can potentially benefit from it next Christmas. Or not, you know, whatever.

As I sat on the bus one day I realized that I was really lacking the Christmas spirit. Being an unnaturally warm winter, it didn’t feellike Christmas. I decided to look up and see if there were any Christmas romance novels that might strike my fancy. When I googled Christmas Romance Novels, I found Kleypas’sChristmas Eve at Friday Harbor pretty easily. Hoorah for her SEO advisors. The “Friday Harbor” series is actually her current project. I didn’t realize this was a series until after I finished reading this first book.

SYNOPSIS

ONE LITTLE GIRL NEEDS A FAMILY One rain-slicked night, six-year-old Holly lost the only parent she knew, her beloved mother Victoria. And since that night, she has never again spoken a word.

ONE SINGLE MAN NEEDS A WIFE The last thing Mark Nolan needs is a six-year-old girl in his life. But he soon realizes that he will do everything he can to make her life whole again. His sister’s will gives him the instructions: There’s no other choice but you. Just start by loving her. The rest will follow.

SOMETIMES, IT TAKES A LITTLE MAGIC… Maggie Collins doesn’t dare believe in love again, after losing her husband of one year. But she does believe in the magic of imagination. As the owner of a toy shop, she lives what she loves. And when she meets Holly Nolan, she sees a little girl in desperate need of a little magic.

…TO MAKE DREAMS COME TRUE Three lonely people. Three lives at the crossroads. Three people who are about to discover that Christmas is the time of year when anything is possible, and when wishes have a way of finding the path home…

Ok, so after that synopsis you know this book is going to have sappy moments. But I haven’t been disappointed in Kleypas yet, so I thought for $6.99 (on Nook) why not give it a shot? And as luck would have it, I enjoyed it and read it in 2 days (mostly on my commute to work.) Sometimes you don’t need the next great american novel, or even just a Romance Saga. Sometimes, what you really want is to have an episode of romance. That’s what this book is. A quick look-see into a sweet and feel-good story. It’s low on angst but very big on heart.

Did it define my life? No. Did it get me into the holiday spirit? You know, it actually did. Mark is believable as a bachelor suddenly saddled with his lovable but heartbroken niece. Maggie is fun with her down to earth personality and her nuturing nature.

One complaint I do have? For a Kleypas novel it felt rather quick. Not just short, but it moved quickly and it was short. I felt a little cheated out of the story, but at the same time I didn’t feel like I was missing any of the plot. I’m just spoiled by her other contemporary novels (See The Travis Series (Sugar Daddy,Blue-Eyed Devil, and Smooth Talking Stranger)) and expected a longer story.

But what this book emphasized in it’s brevity, was an aspect of Kleypas’s storytelling that I forget to mention as I usually love everything she does. The way she writes her conversations between her heroine and hero are always fun, never boring, and extremely entertaining. When was the last time you read a romance novel because you like the conversations? Am I right?

In the end I’m going to give this ★★★, not because it wasn’t well done, but because compared to Kleypas’s other novels, I did feel it lacked oomph. But if it was anyone else I’d give it ★★★1/2 – ★★★★, because it was just what I was looking for at exactly the right time.

It’s a feel good story, between a realistic and charming couple. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a really great Christmas Romance Novel or even just a great, short and sweet romance novel. Read it on a dreary day, curled up in a warm chair with a warm mug of joe.

★★★

Read more reviews by Katie at The Biblio Files

submissioncoffeeisamustchristmas eve at friday harborLisa Kleypascontemporaryromance novels

Text post
January 8, 2012 / 4:39PM 14 notes

"Smooth Talking Stranger (Travises #3)" by Lisa Kleypas

In a Nutshell

  • Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit
  • Notes: Arguably my favorite book in the Travis Series. Certainly the fastest moving one of the trilogy.
  • Recommended for: Fans of Kleypas, Anyone who’s read any of the first two, Fans of Contemporary Romance.

A book that shows sometimes the only obstacle between you and what you want is yourself …  This book is, as I said above, arguably my favorite in the Travis Series. As opposed to Sugar Daddy and Blue-Eyed Devil, the beginning of this book gets right down to business.

SYNOPSIS

Billionaire playboy, and all-around ladies’ man, Jake Travis has a reputation as big as the state of Texas. He drives too fast, lives too hard, and loves too many women to count.

In her advice column, and her love life, Ella Varner is always practical. So when she’s left holding her reckless sister’s baby, she decides to ask Jake Travis to take a paternity test.

Ella is instantly struck by Jake’s bold good looks and easy charm—but she’s not falling for his sweet talk. This big sexy tomcat needs to take responsibility for his actions, and Ella’s making him stick to his word. Now if she can only ignore the unspoken attraction that smolders between them…

Okay, first of all, his name is Jack Travis and has been since the first book. I love the person who completely screwed that up. I could go on about romance novel’s synopsis writers and romance novel’s cover designs, but that should be a post in-0f-itself.

As for Smooth Talking Stranger, I honestly wasn’t overly intrigued by the premise. It seemed to overly similar to the premise of Sugar Daddy. Girl is left to take care of a relatives child. But I couldn’t have been more wrong in my assumption.

First of all, Ella is a completely different character from Liberty in Sugar Daddy. Liberty was eager and and motherly from the beginning of her having to take care of her half-sister, Carrington. On the other hand, Ella is someone who never even wanted to get married let alone raise children. Having a less-than-desirable role-model of a mother, Ella only takes care of her sister’s fatherless child in the beginning because she’s always been the one to “take care of her family’s messes.”

I found the growth of the character of Ella to be a fun and informative read. Having gone to a lot of therapy in college to deal with her childhood home life and eventually becoming a columnist, Ella is very self-aware and truly an independent heroine.

In the character of Jack Travis I was able to see a realistic, lovable hero. He has his flaws, but he has principles and a past. He’s the traditionalist in their relationship, which I found refreshing from many other novels out.

Kleypas does a great job of showing the bond grow between Luke, the baby, and Ella. It’s subtle and believable and also heart-wrenching. I also found the immediate acceptance of the baby by Jack Travis a wonderful, if not completely plausible, part of the book. If I hadn’t read the whole series I don’t think I would have so readily believed his role in Ella’s dilemma.

I would say if you’ve read Sugar Daddy and/or Blue-Eyed Devil and liked either/both of them you are missing out if you don’t read this one.

★★★★1/2

Read more reviews by Katie at The Biblio Files

submissioncoffeeisamustlisa kleypascontemporaryromance novelssmooth talking

Text post
December 11, 2011 / 12:38PM 11 notes

A Wallflower Christmas, by Lisa Kleypas
Okay so A Discovery of Witches is great, but it’s long. And my life suddenly got very busy and I figured that rather than have you guys languishing by your Tumblr dashes, waiting for a new post, I could blast through a festive holiday romance and bring you ooooh tidings of Victorian sex (VicTORiANNN sEEEEx!) in the meantime.
Let it be said that at 200 pages, this is barely even a novella, but it does cram in just about everything you’d want from a Wallflower Christmas story: graphic descriptions of Christmas decorations, the return of the Wallflowers and their smoking SO’s, and, of course, sexy holiday sex.
The story is that Rafe Bowman, brother to the Wallflower sisters Daisy and Lillian, needs a wife, and his family has picked the Lady Natalie Somethingorother. But! Rafe is distracted by the vivid green eyes and rambunctious curls of Lady Natalie’s companion, Hannah. Will Rafe follow his heart, and other parts of his body, and will we see the results painstakingly described on-page? Or will there be a SHOCKING TWIST ENDING?
Uh, no, of course not. This is formulaic even for a romance novel, and you can see every “plot” “twist” coming like Rudolph was lighting the way. It’s so fluffy that it makes cotton candy look like a hearty, rustic meal.
That says, it delivers exactly what it advertises. If you miss the Wallflowers, and you’re looking for a festive treat, give it a shot. You will enjoy it. If you’re looking for a more full-bodied holiday romance, try An Affair Before Christmas, by Eloisa James.
Anyways, to each of my readers, I wish you a happy holiday season no matter what you’re celebrating. May your days be merry and bright, and may all your books be smutty.

A Wallflower Christmas, by Lisa Kleypas

Okay so A Discovery of Witches is great, but it’s long. And my life suddenly got very busy and I figured that rather than have you guys languishing by your Tumblr dashes, waiting for a new post, I could blast through a festive holiday romance and bring you ooooh tidings of Victorian sex (VicTORiANNN sEEEEx!) in the meantime.

Let it be said that at 200 pages, this is barely even a novella, but it does cram in just about everything you’d want from a Wallflower Christmas story: graphic descriptions of Christmas decorations, the return of the Wallflowers and their smoking SO’s, and, of course, sexy holiday sex.

The story is that Rafe Bowman, brother to the Wallflower sisters Daisy and Lillian, needs a wife, and his family has picked the Lady Natalie Somethingorother. But! Rafe is distracted by the vivid green eyes and rambunctious curls of Lady Natalie’s companion, Hannah. Will Rafe follow his heart, and other parts of his body, and will we see the results painstakingly described on-page? Or will there be a SHOCKING TWIST ENDING?

Uh, no, of course not. This is formulaic even for a romance novel, and you can see every “plot” “twist” coming like Rudolph was lighting the way. It’s so fluffy that it makes cotton candy look like a hearty, rustic meal.

That says, it delivers exactly what it advertises. If you miss the Wallflowers, and you’re looking for a festive treat, give it a shot. You will enjoy it. If you’re looking for a more full-bodied holiday romance, try An Affair Before Christmas, by Eloisa James.

Anyways, to each of my readers, I wish you a happy holiday season no matter what you’re celebrating. May your days be merry and bright, and may all your books be smutty.

Lisa Kleypasa wallflower christmasbookslitromance novelsChristmas

Photo post
November 13, 2011 / 11:52AM 22 notes

Devil in Winter, by Lisa Kleypas
Yes, I searched until I found an image of the old split cover. Of course, Sebastian and Evie are almost never outside in this whole book, and it is with extreme regret that I must inform you that Sebastian is never shirtless EXCEPT for a glorious cape. Even so, this is still a pretty great book. 
One thing that I really love about a series is it gives an author more time to build characters and friendships and so when it’s time to read the next book, it’s easy to jump right in (and yes, you should read the two preceding books in the series before picking this up). By the time we get to Devil in Winter, we’ve already spent a good amount of time with both Sebastian and Evie, and we’ve got a good sense of what motivates them and why. The plot, which could be ridiculous, is instead believable.
Long story short, Evie and Simon enter into a marriage of convenience. This is one of my favorite romance novel plot devices, because it means you can have society-sanctioned sex from way early on in the book, and believe me, Lisa Kleypas does not hesitate to get that ball rolling. Evie, as we remember from previous books, is the shyest Wallflower, and has a terrible stammer. Sebastian, as we REALLY remember from the last book, is an incorrigible rake and kind of a shithead. It’s a pretty traditional character pairing and it works very well here. Sparks fly, Sebastian is overwhelmed by his response to Evie, you know the drill.
And then, Kleypas makes it REALLY interesting by having Sebastian take on the project of saving Evie’s father’s gambling club, and both Evie and Sebastian’s attempts to salvage their friendships with other book characters and I really cannot give you more details without spoiling the shit out of the second book but I PROMISE, this all makes for the rare kind of romance novel that is just as good when the characters are not fucking.
I’ve complained before that it’s harder to review a book that you like than it is to review a book that sucked, and I’m feeling that same sense of inadequacy here. I felt like the first book in the series was fairly standard but enjoyable, the second was great, and this one was top-notch. Lisa Kleypas has renewed my interest in historical romance, which I think must be the most challenging genre to write. In contemporary romance, the characters can live almost everywhere and have almost any profession and be nearly any age. With paranormal romance you can always throw in another vampire, or, if you’re Laurell K. Hamilton, different combinations of species having sex. Regency romance is limited to a very specific part of the world at a very specific time, and I feel like there are only so many times you can read a scene in which a sexy duke and a young maiden steal away from a fancy ball to exchange a forbidden kiss. It takes a good writer to keep it fresh and fun.
Anyways, this book elevated Kleypas to the level of Eloisa James or Loretta Chase for me, which is pretty SRS BZNSS. I highly recommend the Wallflowers series. I’m going to take a short break, but in a month or so I plan to read the Wallflower Christmas book. In the meantime, y’all get on it. 

Devil in Winter, by Lisa Kleypas

Yes, I searched until I found an image of the old split cover. Of course, Sebastian and Evie are almost never outside in this whole book, and it is with extreme regret that I must inform you that Sebastian is never shirtless EXCEPT for a glorious cape. Even so, this is still a pretty great book. 

One thing that I really love about a series is it gives an author more time to build characters and friendships and so when it’s time to read the next book, it’s easy to jump right in (and yes, you should read the two preceding books in the series before picking this up). By the time we get to Devil in Winter, we’ve already spent a good amount of time with both Sebastian and Evie, and we’ve got a good sense of what motivates them and why. The plot, which could be ridiculous, is instead believable.

Long story short, Evie and Simon enter into a marriage of convenience. This is one of my favorite romance novel plot devices, because it means you can have society-sanctioned sex from way early on in the book, and believe me, Lisa Kleypas does not hesitate to get that ball rolling. Evie, as we remember from previous books, is the shyest Wallflower, and has a terrible stammer. Sebastian, as we REALLY remember from the last book, is an incorrigible rake and kind of a shithead. It’s a pretty traditional character pairing and it works very well here. Sparks fly, Sebastian is overwhelmed by his response to Evie, you know the drill.

And then, Kleypas makes it REALLY interesting by having Sebastian take on the project of saving Evie’s father’s gambling club, and both Evie and Sebastian’s attempts to salvage their friendships with other book characters and I really cannot give you more details without spoiling the shit out of the second book but I PROMISE, this all makes for the rare kind of romance novel that is just as good when the characters are not fucking.

I’ve complained before that it’s harder to review a book that you like than it is to review a book that sucked, and I’m feeling that same sense of inadequacy here. I felt like the first book in the series was fairly standard but enjoyable, the second was great, and this one was top-notch. Lisa Kleypas has renewed my interest in historical romance, which I think must be the most challenging genre to write. In contemporary romance, the characters can live almost everywhere and have almost any profession and be nearly any age. With paranormal romance you can always throw in another vampire, or, if you’re Laurell K. Hamilton, different combinations of species having sex. Regency romance is limited to a very specific part of the world at a very specific time, and I feel like there are only so many times you can read a scene in which a sexy duke and a young maiden steal away from a fancy ball to exchange a forbidden kiss. It takes a good writer to keep it fresh and fun.

Anyways, this book elevated Kleypas to the level of Eloisa James or Loretta Chase for me, which is pretty SRS BZNSS. I highly recommend the Wallflowers series. I’m going to take a short break, but in a month or so I plan to read the Wallflower Christmas book. In the meantime, y’all get on it. 

Lisa Kleypasdevil in winterhistorical romanceregency romanceromance novelsbookslitreviews

Photo post
November 11, 2011 / 8:45AM 18 notes

It Happened One Autumn, by Lisa Kleypas
Oh god let’s just get it out of the way I am completely and totally and ridiculously hooked on this series. I was going to try to read them seasonally but it’s hopelss.
As you may remember from the last book, Lillian Bowman is a foul-mouthed and brassy American heiress. You like her already, right? Short answer, she’s looking for a husband.
Lord Marcus Westcliff is the smoldering kind of hero, who is super tightly wound, as we all know from reading all these books all the time, he’s bound to lose control at some point. Sigh.
Anyways, they’re in the same place because Lord Westcliff is hosting a month-long house party at his grand countryside estate, because the plot requires it for them to be in close proximity for an extended period of time. You know how it goes.
When I first started reading this book, I felt like I could see the seams (situation, Hero just happens to be there, shenanigans ensue, oh wow they’re left alone AGAIN AND AGAIN rinse repeat). I thought that Kleypas was just a good romance novel author, but hot damn, I have revised that opinion. As soon as Lillian and Marcus start hooking it up, the book is impossible to put down. IMPOSSIBLE.
Seriously, I have read a lot of sex scenes. I can count on one hand the number of books in which the dirty scenes have been truly memorable (if you count the IAD series as one, I guess) (and sometimes it’s memorable but not in a good way), but, well, let’s just say I reread this scene a couple of times.
And the climax! Er, not the one you’re thinking about. I always feel like romance novels have a last-act crisis just because you have to get the couple together and happy before the end, and then something has to fuck it up just so we can do the whole tense climax business. In this case, the last-act crisis was actually interesting and compelling and REALLY set up the next book well.
Just a note, though. I rarely notice anachronism and am not bothered by it, but there is definitely some anachronism with Kleypas. And if I noticed it, to you it might be like the hero wearing skinny jeans to a ball and declaring his intentions through text. Proceed with caution if you’re into historical accuracy.
Also, I downloaded a sample of the next book for Kindle, and let me just say, I am reading that book immediately. If there was ever an argument for an e-reader, it’s the instant gratification of finishing one book in a series and almost instantly picking up the next.

It Happened One Autumn, by Lisa Kleypas

Oh god let’s just get it out of the way I am completely and totally and ridiculously hooked on this series. I was going to try to read them seasonally but it’s hopelss.

As you may remember from the last book, Lillian Bowman is a foul-mouthed and brassy American heiress. You like her already, right? Short answer, she’s looking for a husband.

Lord Marcus Westcliff is the smoldering kind of hero, who is super tightly wound, as we all know from reading all these books all the time, he’s bound to lose control at some point. Sigh.

Anyways, they’re in the same place because Lord Westcliff is hosting a month-long house party at his grand countryside estate, because the plot requires it for them to be in close proximity for an extended period of time. You know how it goes.

When I first started reading this book, I felt like I could see the seams (situation, Hero just happens to be there, shenanigans ensue, oh wow they’re left alone AGAIN AND AGAIN rinse repeat). I thought that Kleypas was just a good romance novel author, but hot damn, I have revised that opinion. As soon as Lillian and Marcus start hooking it up, the book is impossible to put down. IMPOSSIBLE.

Seriously, I have read a lot of sex scenes. I can count on one hand the number of books in which the dirty scenes have been truly memorable (if you count the IAD series as one, I guess) (and sometimes it’s memorable but not in a good way), but, well, let’s just say I reread this scene a couple of times.

And the climax! Er, not the one you’re thinking about. I always feel like romance novels have a last-act crisis just because you have to get the couple together and happy before the end, and then something has to fuck it up just so we can do the whole tense climax business. In this case, the last-act crisis was actually interesting and compelling and REALLY set up the next book well.

Just a note, though. I rarely notice anachronism and am not bothered by it, but there is definitely some anachronism with Kleypas. And if I noticed it, to you it might be like the hero wearing skinny jeans to a ball and declaring his intentions through text. Proceed with caution if you’re into historical accuracy.

Also, I downloaded a sample of the next book for Kindle, and let me just say, I am reading that book immediately. If there was ever an argument for an e-reader, it’s the instant gratification of finishing one book in a series and almost instantly picking up the next.

Lisa Kleypaswallflowers quartetit happened one autumnromance novelsreviewslit

Photo post
October 5, 2011 / 3:04PM 20 notes

Secrets of a Summer Night, by Lisa Kleypas 
Obviously I didn’t have such a glorious cover, since I have an ereader. Oh, Google Image Search, you complete me.  
Anyways, I did that little half-assed mini review yesterday (as if my reviews weren’t already half-assed enough), and true to form, the sparkles have died down a bit and I think I have a bit more of an objective view now.
Annabelle’s family is poor, like, dire straits, and she is desperate to find a husband who is a peer. Any dude, no matter how boring or old or ugly, is fair game. This would be pretty easy, because she’s superhot, but alas, the whole poverty thing means no dowry and apparently the peerage thinks money is pretty important, EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE ALL A BUNCH OF RICH PEOPLE. Don’t ask me why, the only thing I know about Victorian history is that was a time when Victoria was queen and members were turgid.
Desperate times call for crafty measures, and Annabelle forms a friendship with three other single wallflowers, and, appropriately, they call themselves The Wallflowers. They have all kinds of hijinks together, and it’s pretty fun.
ENTER SIMON HUNT. Again, and again, and again. See, Simon Hunt is a wealthy businessman, which is frowned upon by the peerage. Apparently it’s not enough to have money, you also have to have a title as well. What a bunch of assholes, amiright? Simon Hunt is rich and sexy and has an incredibly convenient habit of appearing exactly where Annabelle is at any given moment.
For example! You see a shadow on the horizon. Is it the lord of the manor? NOPE, Simon Hunt. You hear a creak in the corridor. Is that a curious housemaid? NOOOOOPE, Simon Hunt. You are busy swooning dramatically on a fountain in the sumptuous manor garden when a branch snaps. Is that a deer? NOOOOOOOOOOOOPE, Simon Hunt.
So the problem is that Simon Hunt is hot as fuck and super rich and obviously attracted to Annabelle, but Annabelle cannot get over herself long enough to decide that he’s a suitable husband because he’s merely MR. Hunt and not His Grace Simon, the Duke of the Province of Huntsvaleland. God, her life is SO HARD, you guys.
Obviously they get together, because it’s that kind of book, and when they do, it’s pretty great. The scenes with the other Wallflowers are great. The plot is pretty good until Simon and Annabelle get together, and then it kind of turns into a clusterfuck and I get the feeling that Lisa Kleypas was like “Okay, they have to get married so they can have sex, and now I have a quarter of a book left and I have no idea what to do with it.”
So, in sum, great characters (especially female characters), good romance, hot male lead, weak plot. Still a solid romance novel, and I say go for it.

Secrets of a Summer Night, by Lisa Kleypas

Obviously I didn’t have such a glorious cover, since I have an ereader. Oh, Google Image Search, you complete me. 

Anyways, I did that little half-assed mini review yesterday (as if my reviews weren’t already half-assed enough), and true to form, the sparkles have died down a bit and I think I have a bit more of an objective view now.

Annabelle’s family is poor, like, dire straits, and she is desperate to find a husband who is a peer. Any dude, no matter how boring or old or ugly, is fair game. This would be pretty easy, because she’s superhot, but alas, the whole poverty thing means no dowry and apparently the peerage thinks money is pretty important, EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE ALL A BUNCH OF RICH PEOPLE. Don’t ask me why, the only thing I know about Victorian history is that was a time when Victoria was queen and members were turgid.

Desperate times call for crafty measures, and Annabelle forms a friendship with three other single wallflowers, and, appropriately, they call themselves The Wallflowers. They have all kinds of hijinks together, and it’s pretty fun.

ENTER SIMON HUNT. Again, and again, and again. See, Simon Hunt is a wealthy businessman, which is frowned upon by the peerage. Apparently it’s not enough to have money, you also have to have a title as well. What a bunch of assholes, amiright? Simon Hunt is rich and sexy and has an incredibly convenient habit of appearing exactly where Annabelle is at any given moment.

For example! You see a shadow on the horizon. Is it the lord of the manor? NOPE, Simon Hunt. You hear a creak in the corridor. Is that a curious housemaid? NOOOOOPE, Simon Hunt. You are busy swooning dramatically on a fountain in the sumptuous manor garden when a branch snaps. Is that a deer? NOOOOOOOOOOOOPE, Simon Hunt.

So the problem is that Simon Hunt is hot as fuck and super rich and obviously attracted to Annabelle, but Annabelle cannot get over herself long enough to decide that he’s a suitable husband because he’s merely MR. Hunt and not His Grace Simon, the Duke of the Province of Huntsvaleland. God, her life is SO HARD, you guys.

Obviously they get together, because it’s that kind of book, and when they do, it’s pretty great. The scenes with the other Wallflowers are great. The plot is pretty good until Simon and Annabelle get together, and then it kind of turns into a clusterfuck and I get the feeling that Lisa Kleypas was like “Okay, they have to get married so they can have sex, and now I have a quarter of a book left and I have no idea what to do with it.”

So, in sum, great characters (especially female characters), good romance, hot male lead, weak plot. Still a solid romance novel, and I say go for it.

lisa kleypassecrets of a summer nightNOOOPEreviewsbooksromance novelschick lit

Photo post
October 4, 2011 / 6:18PM 15 notes

Pre-Review: Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas

Okay dudes so I’m going to try this thing where I give myself 24 hours or so after reading a book to fully digest it and see if my reviews are more objective. I’ve noticed a trend in my reviewing, which is basically “OMG I LOVED THIS BOOK THIIIIIS MUCH” and then overlooking flaws or issues I have with it until a bit later and then it’s a bit awkward and I’d have to go back and edit but that’s basically the Blogger Walk of Shame and so I don’t and I have a lot of reviews that are not quite reflective of my thoughts.

You guys are probably thinking “Is this bitch that hard up for content that she has to have MINI reviews before writing any real reviews? Why wouldn’t she just write one real review?” Fuck you, that’s why.

Anyways, I just finished Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas, after hearing all over the various internet places that she’s an Author of Note. At first I thought it was going to be nice, but boring, but nothing as bad as Julia Quinn (you guys, she is SO boring to me) or as good as a really good Loretta Chase or Eloisa James.

I’m pleased to say that my expectations were exceeded. There were several female friendships at the heart of the book, and it definitely made me want to read more of the Wallflowers series. I laughed a good bit, I was sold on the romance, and I just wanted to share that even a jaded old tart like me can be surprised sometimes.

Full review later, when the ~*~*~*~*~ have died down.

pre-reviewnon-reviewscopoutsLisa Kleypasromance novelsbooks

Text post
April 28, 2011 / 2:35PM 17 notes

Sugar Daddy (Travises #1) by Lisa Kleypas

 In A Nutshell

  • Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick-Lit
  • Notes: If I had not read Lisa Kleypas’ Regency Novels and knew that I liked her writing style, I would never have given this book a  second glance. But I’m really glad that I did. It wasn’t everything I expected it to be but it went beyond my expectations.
  • Recommended for: Kleypas fans, People who a new take on Rags to Riches, People who like Texas.

Not Your Average Chick-Lit … To get it out of the way let me post the Book’s Summary:

SHE’S FROM THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS

Liberty Jones [SO patriotic!] has dreams and determination that will take her far away from Welcome, Texas—if she can keep her wild heart from ruling her mind. Hardy Cates sees Liberty as completely off-limits. His own ambitions are bigger than Welcome, and Liberty is a complication he doesn’t need. But something magical and potent draws them to each other, in a dangerous attraction that is stronger than both of them.

HE’S THE ONE MAN SHE CAN’T HAVE

When Hardy leaves town to pursue his plans, Liberty finds herself alone with a young sister to raise. Soon Liberty is under the spell of a billionaire tycoon—a Sugar Daddy, one might say. But the relationship goes deeper than people think, and Liberty begins to discover secrets about her own family’s past.

The reason I like to include the summary is to allow you to see the published promotion and have something to compare it to. What I have to say about this summary is it really exaggerates the role of the men in the book. Make no mistake – this is a romance novel – but at its heart it is a story about a young girl who embraces a heavy burden that forever defines her life.

The whole beginning of this book is about Liberty growing up in a trailer park, going from awkward girl to young woman, seeing her mother go from man to man, and eventually raising her baby sister. The best part of this book is really the best part of any Kleypas book. She knows how to write characters that you love, feel for, and root for. Normally if I hit this much exposition in a romance novel it gets boring or the rising action falls flat. But for this novel, the character development is so crucial and done so well that I never felt bored.

I will say though, if you don’t like a lot of exposition – no matter how interesting – then you probably won’t like this book or it will take you awhile to read it. For me, it was so interesting I zoomed through it.

It’s charm is truly in its uniqueness as a contemporary romance – I would say while it develops into a fantastic romance story – it really starts as a coming-of-age tale of a young girl forced to take on great responsibilities at a very early age.

As for the two men, Kleypas writes this conflict in such a way that you really feel the struggle Liberty faces. At the same time – I had one I rooted for very hard, but I won’t name which so you all can experience that on your own.

Things to keep in mind:

  • While I do admire the realism that Kleypas injects into the story by describing Liberty’s childhood, it is a romance novel and does have a sweeping love story in it.
  • If you are looking for a serious book – I can’t imagine you’ve even made it this far into this review – then you are reading the wrong genre.

I was so pleased to find a contemporary romance novel that wasn’t simply sex-sex-minor plot-sex-drama-sex-sex-fin. Don’t get me wrong – there is some brown-chicken-brown-cow! But it isn’t overly flaunted and in the beginning of Liberty’s adult life it is very realistic – which I can’t help but respect in a RomNov.

If you have a weekend, or a trip, this is a great book to drag along with you and get lost in.

★★★★

For more reviews by Katie check out The Biblio Files

submissionlisa kleypassugar daddycontemporarybooksreviews

Text post
February 28, 2011 / 10:35AM 9 notes

Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas

I don’t pretend to know a lot about romance novels. I’ve been reading them since I was old enough to steal them from my Mom’s stash, but I don’t know what makes them good. I don’t know about the latest trends, or what other people may like to read. I just know what I like to read. And I like Lisa Kleypas. 

I’ve read almost all her historical romance novels over the years, and several stick out as recommendation worthy. Most notably, for me, is Again the Magic. The story is entertaining, the sex is hot, and it illustrates the points I like most about Kleypas’ writing. Most notably, a look at how the Industrial Revolution changed the class structure in England and female characters who are curious about and willing to take charge of their sexuality.

In Again the Magic, Aline Marsden is the daughter of a powerful earl in the English countryside in the 1830s. She is mostly ignored by her parents, which leaves her plenty of time to run around with handsome stable boy John McKenna. Their childhood friendship grows into something more as they age, but McKenna is wise enough in the ways of the world to know that he realistically has no chance with the daughter of an earl.  That doesn’t mean Aline can’t encourage him to explore a more physical side of their relationship. When the earl discovers Aline’s liaison with McKenna, the stable boy is forced off the estate and disappears from our heroine’s life. 

McKenna reappears on the estate 12 years later as part of a business delegation from America come to discuss investment opportunities with the new earl, Aline’s brother Marcus. A lot can change in 12 years: McKenna is now a wealthy businessman, Aline has suffered through a mysterious illness that has kept her from marrying, and the new earl is much more socially progressive than their bear of a father was.  McKenna’s feelings have changed too. He blames Aline for his forceful removal from home and has a plan for revenge. Aline knows that she can’t marry, because of her hang-up on this whole silly “illness” issue, and misses the hot fooling around she used to get up to with McKenna. She decides to take what she can get and sets out to seduce the stable boy turned businessman. This works well with McKenna’s bitter plans for revenge. Though there isn’t a crazy amount of sex in this book, the sex is hot and not the standard two positions that often get repeated in historical. So, who can blame McKenna for losing sight of his desire for revenge and Aline for forgetting that she was only after some casual sex?

Though the conflict that eventually brings our couple together feels a little forced, a stellar cast of secondary characters make the rest of the story entertaining. Look for a sassy gay friend, a younger sister recovering from a scandal, an alcoholic business partner, a matronly housekeeper, and a young, socially progressive but grumpy earl. These types of secondary characters often appear in Kleypas’ books and are always funny and engaging without being over the top. 

Of course, Aline and McKenna find a happy ending but we also get to see a glimpse of the happy endings for a couple secondary characters.  And if you still can’t get enough of Stony Cross Park, the estate where all this lovin’ goes down, several of Kleypas’ other books take place there as well. It’s a small, historical romance novel world.

Also, please ignore the terrible cover art. I swear the book is better than that.

Thanks to gertymac for the sexy review!  A historical with more than two positions, you say?

submissiongertymaclisa kleypasagain the magic

Text post