“How to Marry a Duke” by Vicky Dreiling

STORY: Tristan, the Duke of Shelbourne is a man with a mission: find a wife he can tolerate as long as they both shall live. No love is necessary—nor desired. But how to choose amid a dizzying array of wealthy-yet-witless candidates? Hire London’s infamously prim and proper matchmaker. Then pretend she’s not the most captivating woman he’s ever met . . .

Helping a devilish Duke create a contest to pick his perfect mate is the kind of challenge Tessa Mansfield relishes. Her methods may be scandalous, but she’s determined to find the notorious bachelor more than a wife—she’ll bring him true love. Yet when Tessa watches the women vie for the Duke’s affections, she longs to win his heart herself. And after a stolen kiss confirms Tristan’s desire, Tessa knows she has broken a matchmaker’s number one rule: never fall in love with the groom.

REVIEW: I have come to realize that the best books I’ve ever read were purchased on impulse, and this one is at the top. I was frankly STUNNED at how good this début book was. I started to read in the afternoon, and read it through the night, and early morning. I just could not part ways with it. The above blurb does not do it justice.

Our Hero meets our Heroine on page 4 by stepping on and crushing her fan. That scene was written so well, that it took me into that ballroom with it! From that point on, I was hooked, lined and sunk by the page 371 where I just broke down and wept.

I’ve read a few reviews of the book, and a lot of them are describing it as “hilarious”. To me the word “warm” would describe it better. This read, at least for me, was a perfect balance of romance, drama, and humor. I’ll go ahead and admit that I had my doubts about the premise of “The Bachelor” in Regency England. I didn’t think it would work, but boy was I proven wrong!

This was very fresh and entertaining. As for the “secret” and the mystery, even that surprised me! Just when I thought I figured it out, I’m knocked off my rocker! I loved the chemistry between the two main characters as much as I loved the chemistry of all the secondary ones as well.  I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed the character of the Duchess, Tristan’s mother. I’m thinking of starting a petition for her love story in a novella if nothing else. Her Grace deserves her own happy ending!

There’s not a thing that I didn’t like about this book. Nothing. NADA! If you want to feel fuzzy kind of warm, and you want to laugh and cry, don’t pass this one up.  “How to Seduce a Scoundrel” is a story of Julianne and Hawk and it will be out in July of this year. Vicky Dreiling, where have you been hiding? Welcome to my Keeper Shelf!

What’s on my DH’s mind or DT’s FB statuses

It’s only been three days since my ‘Dude’ (an endearment I can’t seem to wean myself from using) has changed shifts in his work, and I miss him something fierce. It’s so dam quiet around the house. I mean, it’s not fun watching Military Channel on my own, and tonight Beverly Hills bitches are on and I just don’t feel like watching them by myself. I miss his dry, stupid and totally inappropriate humor! I’m also missing his quick wit and off the wall narration of the shows we watch together.

I thought to introduce him to all of you out there by blogging about him and sharing his quick wit and humor and what a better way to do that but with his FB posts!

BUT, before I do that let me describe him to you: He’s young, cute, and handsome (a cross between Richard Armitage & John Stamos) in looks, and as for his humor, he’s a cross between Adam Corolla & Jimmy Kimmel. His favorite movies are Caddyshack, Bad Santa and Big Labowski, just to name a few. As for music, well I can tell you he plays a MEAN guitar (electrical), and Van Halen, Ozzy Osborne and Zakk Wylde are his “Dudes”.  What can I say? He is the product of the ’80’s, while I’m the product of the disco era. Oh, and I must not forget the ‘babies’ of our household, and they’re not of the human nor animal species, although we do have a couple of furry ones (cats) around us. No, my Dude’s babies are his Pride (Mercedes-silver) and Joy (Corvette-Red). He knows his cars inside and out, and there better not be a mark on them or else!

Anyways, without a further ado, I give you the mind of my Dude!

DON T.

The amount of adults that seem to possess a 3 minute attention span is becoming alarming! I always knew the average Knucklehead out there only listens or reads half of what you say, but this is becoming ridiculous! FOCUS for Christ sakes!!! (I’ve already lost half of you reading this haven’t I?)

SBucks etiquette: How about after you get your drinks from the pickup window, you and your three D-bag friends move along??? You can discuss growing scruffy beards, big Starsky and Hutch sweaters, green energy and Republicans somewhere else! White guy problem #103.

Sitting here watching 60 minutes on CNBC and I want to jump through the screen and strangle these two deadbeats!!!! Jesus Christ! What a country of whiney F’n pussies we’ve become! Listen up Deadbeats! You signed a contract. You’ve borrowed money you agreed to pay back. Pay your fucking bills!!!! Just what I wanted to watch after a stressful day at work!

10 a.m. at the Oakbrook Mall Apple store. I’m really getting sick of this place, mainly due to the fact that I continually have to come here to replace poorly made but expensive ear phones, power cords, cases etc… Plus, they’re kind of dicks. And what’s with no cash registers? And it’s already busy! F-it!… Going to Starbucks!

SON OF A BITCH!!!!! Is it too much to ask to put the G.D. Lid on correctly?!!!! This is why I say most people suck at their jobs!!!! I got G.D. Coffee all over me, my coat my Mercedes, my phone and my F’n Burberry scarf!!! And thanks to the brown stain it left on my pants, I look like I just S’ed myself!!!! Nice job D-Bags!

See? It ain’t rocket science! Told “My” Barista my sob story and got it comped! Lid secure, scarf cleaned. White guy problem: Solved!

Epiphany: I realized I’ve only had an iPhone for 3 years now and I’ve already got $5,000 into it through 3 phone upgrades, accessories and cost of service. Average of $1,500 a year. Let’s do the math compared to a typical 30 mortgage. $1,500 x 30yrs. = $45,000 if we simply applied an extra $1,500 ONCE a year to that mortgage you would bring that 30 years down to about 22 years saving another let’s say $50,000. TRUE COST of these dopey phones is about $100,000 plus!!! That’s a lot of opportunity cost to have meaningless conversations and post nonsense on facebook! No wonder the whole damn country is busted out!

One carry out order, 5 items, one missing! 30 minutes of my life to correct THEIR mistake! DON’T TELL ME I’m over reacting to just how horrible people are at their jobs! How hard is this people? Really man, I want a dollar figure on how much this costs the nation!

If you not only want to be entertained, but also horrified at the same time do the following: gather a group of early 20 somethings together and ask these simple questions. 1.) Name ONE country that was involved in World War II. 2.) Is Rhode Island a state or a country? 3.) Is Thailand in Europe or Asia? 4.) Name ONE country in Europe. 5.). Who’s the current Vice President? 6.) Was General Patton involved in WWII, WWI or the Civil War? 7.) What side was Germany on ours or France’s (Trick question)? I’ve been playing this game at my Starbucks and the results are disturbing! As a tax payer, I want my fucking money back for releasing this generation of retards upon society!!!! This is BASIC common knowledge!!!!! And I wonder why everyone is horrible at basic tasks!!!!!

Interesting variation on the “Dine and Dash” or the “Ol’ Chew and Screw” concept. When you go out to a restaurant with some of your Deadbeat friends ask to put the drinks on a separate check. Your buddies slip out one by one and you take the check to the register for the drinks only. Since most people suck at their jobs anyway, I doubt they would be paying attention. The “Manager” sees you paying at the register and thinks nothing of it. Try it out and see if it works. In these hard times, American’s need all the help they can get to remain overweight.

A direct correlation between one’s station in life can be the height of one’s bed in relation to the floor. Mattress on the floor: NOT doing well. Three steps up: doing VERY well. Sleeping bag on the floor: Failure. HOWEVER, too high off the ground could mean a prison bunk. Optimal height off floor for success in life: 30.6 inches.

In another display of the “Pussification” of America, if I see one more 30 something, scruffy bearded white guy douschebags crying about these TSA searches I’m going to puke! Go back to worrying about green energy, your allergic hypochondria, West Africa and participation awards just for showing up! This is what happens when Whitey officially runs out of problems! Definitely time to turn off MSNBC!

Okay, how the HELL is THIS worth $13.95???!!!!! Really man????? On top of that, YET AGAIN they F’d up the order!!!! The moron repeats it back to me verbatim and then doesn’t do what I told them. Fucking amazing!! Yes, EVERYBODY sucks at their jobs!!!! F.U.!!!!!!!!!!

And by the way, all day I must have had an “F Me” sign on my back because right before I go to a self car wash and for the fiftieth fucking time there I pump 4 bucks worth of quarters into it and NO soap comes out of the hose, OR brush and of course NO wax either!!!! So basically $4 to spray clear water on the car!!! And NO ONE around to help!!!! Just keep a list of how horrible people are at what they do during your travels and you’ll see it’s sinking our country’s economy!!! I need a drink!

Nice to get good service AND for change, see people who are good at their jobs. Kudos to “The Great American Bagel” franchise in Downers Grove. Friendly, Fast, Efficient and almost NO ONE Tips these poor people! I left several dollars in the jar with only pennies and nickels in it for them then heard the deadbeat couple behind me says “Oh, are we supposed to tip?”. For this type of service, Yes you retards! TIP!!!!

Can’t get enough of douchey white guys in their 40’s walking around in public in pajama bottoms like some dizzy teenaged girl. I don’t know what look is more fucked out, the dumpy 47 year old guy with his tight shirt tucked in and pants pulled up too high or this? It’s a tossup. Kill em’ both.

In yet another testament to how weird people are, I was just in Starbucks standing for 5 minutes behind two college aged D-Bags blocking the condiment bar. They see me. Won’t move. I say “excuse me”. Won’t move. Just two dicks conversing about nothing. I finally slip between him and his half a fag friend and I’m literally 6 inches from these two A-Holes and they won’t move an inch!! WHO DOES THAT????!!!!

X marks the spot. The spot where assholes and morons congregate. A playground of incompetence. A commune of the credit challenged bust out where hardly a wage isn’t garnished. Where a born again gang banger and a Satanist can come together to do truly mediocre work. Yep, that spot is lovely Aurora IL. The place of my employ.

Having lunch with my lovely wife in a nice restaurant in Hinsdale. Been sitting here for 10 minutes and JUST NOW had our server clear the dishes and ask what else we would like. POINT BEING: There are only TWO other couples in here and STILL the service sucks??? ONCE AGAIN! How fuckin’ hard is this?? As usual, PEOPLE SUCK AT THEIR JOBS!!! (The food was good however)

Man, I love me some downtown Hinsdale on a snowy day! Looks like something out of a Christmas movie! I’m expecting George Bailey to come running by!

This F’n line has not moved in 10 minutes!!!!!! And you now won’t move the line UNTIL I give you my preferred card? Really??!! I want to strangle the punk at the cash register!! No sense of urgency AT ALL and 5 people behind me!!! FU Jagoff!!!!

In an age when everything is practically F’n free, this knucklehead is willing to risk hard time over a TV? He probably heisted an off brand on top of it! TV’s are so cheap even a week’s pay at Walmart would have paid for one! Can you imagine the two D-bags that got together and created this clown? No limit to “Adult stupidity”!

Man, how far we’ve come technologically speaking! Sitting in my car in downtown Hinsdale with a hot Starbucks and watching “The Big Lebowski” on my phone via a Netflix App! Don’t get me wrong, we are still essentially a bunch of unruly animals but when it comes to wasting time, we got this shit down yo!!!

Food for Thought: Before you get into an argument, before you send that Nasty email, before you make something out of nothing. Ask yourself, does it make me happy or does it make me money? If the answer is no, then move the fuck on! Stop spinning your wheels, life’s short. It’s just another step in a long and miserable dance that we are taking to the grave….Tru dat Ace man!

Hmmm? Finally the Salvation Army guy ringing the bell outside Jewel. I was wondering where this cat was? To give or not? Last year the bum ah, I mean “volunteer” came inside and bought 8 giant Hershey bars with loose change, THEN said loudly in her Santa hat, “Man!… I’m s’possed to be outside ringin’ a muthafuckin’ bell!”… In front of kids!! Sorry, I’ll pass! Maybe next time.

Just how many times should one be subjected to listening to Mariah Carey butcher a Christmas song before running the risk of permanent brain damage?

Note to self: Never NEVER take a Corvette out on days like this! It was clear when I left and since I live in a town with the word “Hills” in it a spent 30 minutes zig zagging thru to use all the flat streets! WOW! No traction at ALL! I can wipe the sweat stash of nervousness from my upper lip now!

Things NOT to do at the Hinsdale Christmas walk: Stand in the middle of the sidewalk in a pack of six oblivious, inconsiderate groups blocking traffic in both directions. Not try to drive through police blockades, also teenage girls stop flipping your hair in people’s faces and Demit, STOP blocking the entrance to my Starbucks you inconsiderate F’s!!!!!

8 large bags of unsalted peanuts, 2 large bags of bird seed, 3 boxes of dog biscuits, 6 cans of cat food and one 6 pack of Bud light. Either Ol’ boy has some peculiar dining habits or God knows what kind of zoo he keeps back at the apartment!

Well, folks, there you have it. Who could not fall in love with a mind like that? I hope you enjoyed a little snippet of my Dude’s ramblings…..

“The Sherbrooke Bride” by Catherine Coulter or ‘Now I remember why I loved CC’s writing’!

STORY: Douglas Sherbrooke, Earl of Northcliffe, is a man besieged. He must have an heir. Thus he must first provide himself with the requisite bride.
Alexandra Chambers, youngest daughter of the Duke of Beresford, has loved Douglas Sherbrooke since she was fifteen. Unfortunately, it is her sister, the incomparable Melissande, he wishes to wed.  But life never ladles out what one expects, and Douglas finds himself wed to the wrong sister. If having an unwanted wife isn’t enough, he is also plagued by The Virgin Bride, a ghost that is reputedly seen in the countess’s bedchamber.

REVIEW: A couple of months ago I’ve read “The Valcourt Heiress” by CC, and my disappointment was so profound, that I gave that book a very scathing review, which brought forth a very lively discussion on Amazon, as well as with some of my personal friends. Some people agreed with me (http://regencyera.net/2010/09/28/review-the-valcourt-heiress-by-catherine-coulter/), and others not so much.  In rereading my review of that book, I admit to being a bit harsh; however I still stand behind my words.

This being a New Year and taking in account a promise I gave, I went back and reread “Sherbrooke Bride” which was my favorite CC ever. I read this book years, years AND years ago.   

This was her first novel in the Bride Trilogy. “Hellion Bride” (Ryder’s story) followed and “The Heiress Bride” (Sinjin’s story, the VERY controversial book with a spousal rape scene) was originally supposed to finish up the trilogy of the Sherbrooke’s brood, but we still had Tysen, so I guess a few years ago CC decided we should catch up with him also, ergo a “Scottish Bride”. I understand that there are a few more stories of their children, but I have not read any.

First book introduces us to all Sherbrooke’s, but it’s the story of Douglas Sherbrooke, Earl of Northcliffe. This was one arrogant, crude, rude, and utterly loving tyrant of a man. He is one of those heroes that we hate to love and we try very hard to put up with all his rude, autocratic behavior only because deep down in our hearts we know that only love motivates this man to put up with all the weirdness and antics this family dishes up for him. Only love for his brother Ryder would motivate our hero to put up with their quarterly “bastard meetings”. Only love would keep him from not murdering his cousin Tony for taking the only woman he EVER considered marrying. Douglas in the end of the book becomes, or grows I should say, into a fully fledged hero we knew him to be from the beginning.

Alexandra Chambers is a sweet, loveable albeit plain, and yet very strong young woman who loved this man since she was fifteen.  From the beginning of this story, I was frustrated with her meek behavior and I rooted for her to stand up and fight her man-for her man! And just when I thought she’s down for the count, she picks herself up, and boy does she come up swinging!  I greatly anticipated Douglas’ downfall! Oh, and he did fall! BIG TIME!

In rereading this story, I got reminded about why CC’s books appealed to me. The book is very well written with rich and engaging three-dimensional characters. A good dose of humor and a little intrigue added to it, and viola, we have a first-rate romance novel!

Some might say that the sex scenes were graphic, but to me they were entertaining and tastefully written. I got a kick out of Douglas’ loss of control of his passion for Alex. It’s nice to see a man lose control once in a while, don’t you think? All in all, a very good read.

As I neared the end of this book, I decided to go ahead and reread all four of the Bride series and I was so glad I did. It surprised me also to find out that this time around, I liked Ryder’s story most of all, and I understood Sinjin’s story and the controversy of spousal rape better than I did the first time I read it. At the end of the series, I felt like visiting long-lost family members, and yet I was glad to go home after a short visit.

If you never read this author, please find her earlier titles. She used to write  well. I’m not sure what happened to her writing lately, but as of now my disappointment still stands. I hope to change my mind, but I’m not holding my breath. I would love to hear from all of you about CC and her books. ALL opinions are more than welcome!

“Goodnight Tweetheart” by Teresa Medeiros

STORY: Abigail Donovan has a lot of stuff she should be doing. Namely writing her next novel. A bestselling author who is still recovering from a near Pulitzer Prize win and the heady success that follows Oprah’s stamp of approval, she is stuck at Chapter Five and losing confidence daily. But when her publicist signs her up for a Twitter account, she’s intrigued. What’s all the fuss?

Taken under the wing of one of her Twitter followers, “MarkBaynard”—a quick witted, quick-typing professor on sabbatical—Abby finds it easy to put words out into the world 140 characters at a time. And once she gets a handle on tweets, retweets, direct messages, hashtags, and trends, she starts to feel unblocked in writing and in life. After all, why should she be spending hours in her apartment staring at her TweetDeck and fretting about her stalled career when Mark is out there traveling the world and living?

REVIEW:  Let’s start with an admition that this story is by one of my favorite Authors. That in itself, if you’ve read any of my reviews, will not stop me from voicing my opinion. Also, being an avid reader almost exclusively of Historical romance genre, and after reading Debbie Macomber’s Cotemporary short, I had my doubts. Let me be clear, this is one story you should not pass on reading. It has everything you ever wanted in a love story: humor, passion, heart and wit. If you loved “You’ve got Mail”, “Sleepless in Seattle” and my favorite “The Love Story”, you’ll just gobble this book up! The only complaint I would have would be that it ended a bit too fast for me, but then I think Teresa wanted it that way because she wanted each of us to give the story an ending of our own choosing.  So go forth my little “tweets” and visit your local  Borders to get this book! You’ll be glad you did! I promise!

“Family Affair” by Debbie Macomber

STORY: Lacey Lancaster has always longed to be a wife and mother. However, after a painful divorce, she decides it’s time to lay low for a while in her charming San Francisco apartment with her beautiful Abyssinian cat, Cleo.

Everything would be wonderful, except for her utterly impossible neighbor Jack Walker. When he’s not arguing day and night with his girlfriend, begging her to move in with him, he’s chasing down his cat named Dog, who seems determined to get Cleo to succumb to his feline advances.

Then Lacey discovers the awful truth—Cleo is in the family way and Dog’s to blame. She’s furious that neither Jack nor his amorous animal seem too upset about the situation.

But Lacey learns that things are not as they seem. Jack’s “girlfriend” is really his sister—and his intentions toward Lacey are very honorable. And though she’s not quite sure about Dog, Lacey begins to discover the tender joy of falling in love all over again.

REVIEW: Well, there you have it! That’s just about it…This synopsis almost covers the whole story. I’m not much of a fan of contemporary romance and this would be my first book by this author, so there, now that I got this out-of-the-way, my thoughts are this: Cute, fun and sweet VERY short story. I was done with it in one afternoon and honestly I don’t think it was worth the price. I’d have to say that it was well written, but for the life of me I’m not sure why was it marketed this way, as a short HARDCOVER novella?! Even though I was a bit disappointed, I will make sure to read Debbie Macomber ‘s work this year and I would love some suggestions as to with which book I should start…

If you’re a fan of Debbie Macomber, I think you probably already read this short story, and if you’ve never read her I would pass on this and try her other books.