‘The Sum of All Kisses’ by Julia Quinn

TSOAK JQSTORY: He thinks she’s an annoying know-it-all...

Hugh Prentice has never had patience for dramatic females, and if Lady Sarah Pleinsworth has ever been acquainted with the words shy or retiring, she’s long since tossed them out the window. Besides, a reckless duel has left this brilliant mathematician with a ruined leg, and now he could never court a woman like Sarah, much less dream of marrying her.

She thinks he’s just plain mad…

Sarah has never forgiven Hugh for the duel he fought that nearly destroyed her family. But even if she could find a way to forgive him, it wouldn’t matter. She doesn’t care that his leg is less than perfect, it’s his personality she can’t abide. But forced to spend a week in close company they discover that first impressions are not always reliable. And when one kiss leads to two, three, and four, the mathematician may lose count, and the lady may, for the first time, find herself speechless …

New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn’s enchanting third novel in the Smythe-Smith quartet is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud and tug at your heartstrings in equal measures.

REVIEW: Lady Sarah Pleinsworth is staying with her large family at Fensmore to attend the wedding of her cousin, Honoria Smythe-Smith to the Earl of Chatteris.  The following week they are to journey to Whipple Hall to attend the wedding of Daniel Smythe-Smith and Miss Anne Wynter.  The two grand affairs will be hosting an enormous amount guests.

Some years before, Daniel Smythe-Smith and his friend, Hugh Prentice, foolishly fought a duel over a game of cards.  Hugh shot Daniel in the shoulder and Daniel shot Hugh in the thigh, shattering the femur.  After a long convalescence, Hugh is now left with a bad limp and constant pain.  He now needs a cane to walk.  Since then, the Smythe-Smith family has held a grudge against Hugh even though Hugh and Daniel have made up as friends.  Therefore, when Sarah learns that Hugh is invited to attend these two weddings, she is unhappy as she has never forgiven Hugh for hurting her cousin, Daniel, never mind that Hugh is left with a worse injury.

When Sarah finds that she has been “assigned” to keep Hugh company during his visit, she is angry.  However, as they get to know one another better, an attraction begins to grow which leads to some quite clever banter between them.

Hugh’s father has always been a hateful man to him and his older brother, Freddie.  I won’t go into the reason for this as it would be a spoiler.  But suffice to say I got very aggravated with Hugh for not standing up to his father’s anger.  I just wanted to yell, “Man up, Hugh!”

I have always been a huge fan of Julia Quinn.  Her signature humor is very well done.  However, in this book I was confused by her attention to detail by maintaining consistency with the UK spelling, yet she added some bits of modern American slang.  While the plot was good, I just feel that this is not one of her better novels.  However, this is quick, light read and one that I’m sure will be enjoyed by many readers.

Connie for b2b

*Book provided by my local Library.

‘The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After’ by Julia Quinn

TBHEA JQSTORY: Once upon a time, a historical romance author created a family . . .

But not just any family. Eight brothers and sisters, assorted in-laws, sons and daughters, nieces and nephews (not to mention an overweight corgi) plus an irrepressible matriarch who’s a match for any of them . . . These are the Bridgertons: less a family than a force of nature. Through eight bestselling novels, readers laughed, cried, and fell in love. But they wanted more.

And so the readers asked the author . . .

What happens next? Does Simon ever read his father’s letters? Do Francesca and Michael become parents? Who would win in a Pall Mall grudge match?

Does “The End” really have to be the end?

Now, with The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After, Julia Quinn delivers eight sexy, funny, and heartwarming “2nd Epilogues” plus a bonus story about none other than the wise and witty matriarch Violet Bridgerton herself. So get to know the Bridgertons all over again—because Happily Ever After is a whole lot of fun.

REVIEW: Julia Quinn originally began the first of 8 books in the Bridgerton Family Series in 2000 and finished them in 2006.  (The list is below.)

Like many other readers, I was hooked from the first one to the last.  Each book centered on the life of a different member of the Bridgerton family in their quest to find love and their own happy ever after.  

Evidently, many readers who truly loved these characters asked Julia Quinn to sum up what happened to them later in life, so she has written a second epilogue to bring closure, if you will, to the entire family saga.  Thus, “The Bridgertons:  Happily Ever After” was written.  

Each section is devoted to one of the books in the series, from the first to the last.  In addition, in response to a request by so many readers for more information about the character  Violet, she has included a novella about her.  

As warned by Ms. Quinn, you must have read each novel for it to make sense to you.  That is where I am somewhat at odds with how I feel in general about this summation.  Ideally, a reader will have read these 8 novels, one after the other, and then read the HEA wrap-up.  Perhaps it’s because I don’t have a photographic memory, but reading the books over a period of 6 years has meant that I’ve tended to forget a lot about each plot.  Therefore, while the wrap-up novel is a good idea for readers who remember every novel perfectly, for me it wasn’t much of a help.

Having said that, I must say that Julia Quinn has once again written a typically interesting book; spiked with her signature humor, this concludes the series very well for the average reader. 

Book 1: The Duke and I 

Book 2: The Viscount Who Loved Me
Book 3: An Offer From A Gentleman
Book 4: Romancing Mr. Bridgerton 
Book 5: To Sir Phillip, With Love
Book 6: When He Was Wicked 
Book 7: It’s In His Kiss
Book 8: On The Way to the Wedding

I look forward to more novels from Ms. Quinn and while many readers prefer series novels, I have to say that I like the stand alone ones and hope she gets back into that arena again.

Reviewed by: Connie Fischer

Book provided by the publisher through Edelweis.

‘The Lady Most Willing: A Novel in Three Parts’ by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James & Connie Brockway

TLMW JQ EJ CBSTORY: At the behest of three of the most talented historical romance authors writing today, you are cordially invited to a ball. No, a party. No . . . a kidnapping.

Taran Ferguson, laird of his clan, is determined that his ancient (if not so honorable) birthright be secured before he dies. When both his nephews refuse to wed, the old reprobate takes matters into his own hands: he raids a ball and makes off with four likely brides . . .

Miss Marilla Chisholm—the bonniest lass in Scotland, and an heiress to boot.

Miss Fiona Chisholm—her older sister, another fine choice (but for that tiny stain on her reputation).

Lady Cecily Tarleton—true, she’s an English beauty, but very, very rich.

Miss Catriona Burns—without name or fortune, clearly someone made a mistake.

Oh, yes. And one very irate duke.

Because somewhere there must be one lady most willing to love a Scottish lord.

REVIEW: This collaborative story is the second one for these three bestselling authors and as of now it’s been for 2 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

If you’ve not read the previous collaborative work from these women, then you might not realize that this is one continuing story through the book, woven by all three authors. This kind of collaboration doesn’t happen often because all three stories must align seamlessly in order for the book, as a whole, to be fully enjoyed.

I am sorry to say that I found that in this case they didn’t. If I can tell which parts were written by Julia and Eloisa, being more familiar with their work, then the collaboration wasn’t a full success, in my opinion. The story in itself, as predictable as I found it, wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as good as I expected, especially coming from the authors I have such great respect and love for.

All three stories left me in want of something more, something a bit deeper, a bit meaningful and less predictable. The writing was good, plot so-so and pace varied from author to author, which in the end wasn’t a bad thing. Maybe that’s why in the end of it, I was left conflicted about which parts I liked and which left me cold.

My conclusion was, despite good and familiar writing of the two authors I greatly admire, I enjoyed it less  because all three stories felt rushed thus the book felt incomplete even though everyone reached their happy ending. Don’t misunderstand me. I liked it, I just didn’t love it.

Book provided by Avon through Edelweiss.

‘A Night Like This’ by Julia Quinn

STORY: Anne Wynter might not be who she says she is . . .

But she’s managing quite well as a governess to three highborn young ladies. Her job can be a challenge—in a single week she finds herself hiding in a closet full of tubas, playing an evil queen in a play that might be a tragedy (or might be a comedy—no one is sure), and tending to the wounds of the oh-so-dashing Earl of Winstead. After years of dodging unwanted advances, he’s the first man who has truly tempted her, and it’s getting harder and harder to remind herself that a governess has no business flirting with a nobleman.

Daniel Smythe-Smith Might be in mortal danger . . .

But that’s not going to stop the young earl from falling in love. And when he spies a mysterious woman at his family’s annual musicale, he vows to pursue her, even if that means spending his days with a ten-year-old who thinks she’s a unicorn. But Daniel has an enemy, one who has vowed to see him dead. And when Anne is thrown into peril, he will stop at nothing to ensure their happy ending . . .

REVIEW: Right off the bat, Julia Quinn is signaling to all of her fans and new readers alike: here’s the story to make you laugh out loud and take your worries away for a bit!

Daniel Smythe-Smith, Earl of Winstead, is finally home from abroad and all that have known him are in for a surprise, as he is a much changed man, yet he still has his wonderful sense of humor which the heroine brings up in him through their many, many encounters and through Ms. Quinn’s talent in writing the witty and entertaining dialogue.

Anne Wynter is a governess to Daniel’s cousins, and it only takes one look for him to fall in love with her, but a lady is not convinced it is a proper thing for either of them. She has a past that is about to catch up to her and is sure once it does, her life will never be what she yearns for it to be.

‘A Night Like This’ will be one of those books that you’ll remember for a while, but then most of Julia Quinn’s stories tend to burrow deep into my heart and this one’s no exception. This story has everything you’ll ever want in a lighthearted romance and then some.

If you’ve read any of Ms. Quinn’s books and are a fan, I think you’ll like this second addition to Smythe-Smith ‘mini saga’ which is as much charming and fun as the first one. If however you’ve never read any of her books, you may as well start with this one as the author knows her craft well and made sure to make it stand all on its own.

*To buy this book, click on the cover*

*To learn more about the author, click on the name*

*Copy provided by AVON publisher through Edelweiss*

RRAH August reviews

Well, now with my son’s wedding behind us, I’m relieved all went with a minor hitch (DJ never showed up, but replacement did from another firm 30 minutes into the wedding reception) and the newlyweds are now back from their Honeymoon to enjoy life together.

I’ve also had some time to turn some of my reviews to Romance Reader At Heart  website and I’ll briefly let you know which books are worth reading and which you just might postpone for later or skip altogether. To read my full review just click on the title, and to find out about the author of the book, please click on their name.

TOO WICKED TO LOVE  by Debra Mullins was a very quick read and I liked it a lot. As soon as I started reading this book, I had a feeling that I should have read the first book of this trilogy. I’m sure that I would have appreciated the story more. It really had all the elements of what a historical romance should—a very handsome and likeable hero and an untrusting heroine. As for the villain, this dude was off the charts! I gave it Four Roses and if you haven’t read it, you should, but do get the first one too. I think you might get the better picture of our hero.

JUST LIKE HEAVEN by Julia Quinn was just that. Heaven. By now if you haven’t read this author GET THEE TO THE BOOKSTORE! Any book you pick by her, you’ll end up a winner! I’ve yet to read one that’s bad. This chick knows her craft and NEVER disappoints. Period. Most of us that are her fans, were hoping sooner or later she’d gift us with this series and now that I’ve got my first story of Smythe-Smith’s sisters, I’m just itching for more. I believe the book stands on its own, but if you want to get the full impact of this family, you should scour the used book stores or get her earlier books from Amazon.

NOTORIOUS by Nicola Cornick was one of those well written books with a wrotten heroine. Boy, oh boy! This woman was some piece of work. I didn’t like her one bit. Talk about a manipulator! I’m not going to give the story away, but I warn you. If you like your heroines meek, sweet and virginal, you’ll not like this one. However if you like them pathetic, manipulative and plain bitchy, then you’ll love her! I gave this book Four Roses ONLY because it engaged my emotions to an umpteenth degree. It also made me want to read WHISPER OF SCANDAL, which is the first book in ‘Scandalous Women of the Ton’ series. I did like the fact that it’s a stand alone regardless of being a fourth book in the series.

THE BED AND THE BACHELOR by Tracy Anne Warren ends her Byrons of Braebourne series. TEMPTED BY HIS KISS was the first one and Cade Byron’s story. Jack Byron’s story was in SEDUCED BY HIS TOUCH, followed by AT THE DUKE’S PLEASURE. All of them were exceptionally good, well written and very interesting.

WICKED DELIGHTS OF A BRIDAL BED was their sister Mallory’s story, and I thought it fell short. I just didn’t think it was as good as it should or could have been. THE BED AND THE BACHELOR, which is Drake’s story, was a let down as well. What the hell happened to Drake?! I liked him better in the earlier book. As for our heroine, once she commits the unthinkable, I lost all compassion for her. There must have been a better way to accomplish her ‘mission’. If you’ve never read this author, don’t start with this book. I fell in love with Ms. Warren’s work through her ‘Trap’ series in which she displayed her awesome sense of humor. I’ve all her ‘Mistress’ trylogy, but they’re still on my TBR. I’m hoping to get to them by the end of the year.

DANCING WITH MR. DARCY actually has twenty authors but has introductions from Sarah Waters and Rebecca Smith, the great-great-great-great-great niece of Jane Austen. This quick and witty read is a must for all Jane Austen fans. You’ll really appreciate the range in talent in this book. All of the stories were fun, well written and just a joy to read. I also urge you to read the biographies of those that have had too much fun in penning their stories. I’m thinking, just for the pure joy and fun, maybe I should penn one?  How cool it would be. Just for mayself, mind you:)

SEVEN YEARS TO SIN by Sylvia Day I saved for last. This was an ARC that I bid on eBay as a donation towards a friend in need. Ms. Day signed it and sent me a bag full of goodies with it, and for that I’m forever grateful to her.

What can I tell you about this book that will convince you to get out there and get it as soon as it hits the bookstores?! It has one of the hottest Prologues I’ve EVER read! I truly couldn’t put it down once I started to read it. Thank God it’s summer and my DH loves BBQ! Everything about this story was perfection. My heart went to both hero and heroine. These two waited a long time for their happily ever after and in Ms. Day’s hands they thrived. She also has a secondary love story that was just as well done as the main. I promise you, without a doubt that you’ll love this book. Worth every penny and more!

So there you have it my bookworms:) That’s it for August from me and RRAH! I would like to remind you all that Jenny Brown, Tiffany Clare, Joanna Bourne and a slew of other authors will be stopping by very soon and you’re welcome to stop by, comment and enter our contests:)