Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Summer to Remember and The Slightly Sereis by Mary Balogh

Hero: Kit Butler
Heroine: Lauren Edgeworth
Category: Historical
Page Count: 361
Grade: C+

Kit Butler, Viscount Ravensberg, is cool and dangerous—one of London’s most infamous bachelors. Marriage is the last thing on his mind. But Kit’s family has other plans. Desperate to thwart his father’s matchmaking, Kit needs a Enter Miss Lauren Edgeworth.
A year after being abandoned at the altar, Lauren has determined that marriage is not for her. When these two fiercely independent souls meet, sparks fly—and a deal is hatched. Lauren will masquerade as Kit’s intended if he agrees to provide a passionate, adventurous, unforgettable summer. When summer ends, she will break off the engagement, rendering herself unmarriageable and leaving them both free. Everything is going perfectly—until Kit does the unthinkable: He begins to fall in love. A Summer to Remember is not enough for him. But how can he convince Lauren to be his...for better, for worse, for the rest of their lives.
Not even the most devoted gambler would take odds on this match as Mary Balogh surprises and delights yet again in an unexpected love story that will hold you in thrall until the last glorious page is turned.

This was my very first Balogh book and it was....okay. There were parts I really liked and parts that just irked me to no end.

First let me say that it bothered me that Kit was short! Well I don't know that he was necessarily short but it kept being repeated that he wasn't as tall as other men. Normally I'd be able to forget that fact and make my own tall hero in my head but it KEPT BEING STATED OVER AND OVER! Sheesh! But as Holly pointed out he could have just been average and the other men were tall and the heroine of the book was also said to be tall. But still. Ya know?

Also I didn't like that Kit was ALWAYS laughing, either out right or with his eyes. Now this isn't a bad thing for a hero but somethings should have some sort of a serious feel to it. Like when they first have sex? Yup, he had laughing eyes.

And Lauren? ALWAYS so cool and aloof. But the difference with her is we saw the reason why she was like that AND we saw her loosen up during her summer with Kit.

I really did enjoy the romance bloom with the two of these characters. They were just so completely different. And I loved how they were just completely honest with each other....for the most part. Of course they were honest about everything EXCEPT their feelings toward the end of the book.

But hey without that would we have gotten the great scene when Kit came for Lauren? What you want to know what happened? Well go read the book. I'm not spilling all here. lol.

Hero: Aiden Bedwyn
Heroine: Eve Morris
Category: Historical
Page Count: 342
Grade: B+

Like all the Bedwyn men, Aidan has a reputation for cool arrogance. But this proud nobleman also possesses a loyal, passionate heart--and it is this fierce loyalty that has brought Colonel Lord Aidan to Ringwood Manor to honor a dying soldier's request. Having promised to comfort and protect the man's sister, Aidan never expected to find a headstrong, fiercely independent woman who wants no part of his protection…nor did he expect the feelings this beguiling creature would ignite in his guarded heart. And when a relative threatens to turn Eve out of her home, Aidan gallantly makes her an offer she can't refuse: marry him…if only to save her home. And now, as all of London breathlessly awaits the transformation of the new Lady Aidan Bedwyn, the strangest thing happens: With one touch, one searing embrace, Aidan and Eve's “business arrangement” is about to be transformed…into something slightly surprising.

I LOVED Aiden! He was that strong silent type. Mmmm mmmm yummy. lol.

A man of honor he followed through on a dying soldiers request. To protect his sister at all costs!

Aiden had never seen a marriage for himself in his future, since he was a Colonel and was always in danger and moving around. But he had just started to think maybe he could have a family of his own, with a woman that was used to following the drum. No he wouldn't have love, but he'd have companionship and his own family.

All that shattered when he happened upon a soldier about to die, and promised him he'd protect his sister. It ends up being that marriage is the only way to save Eve.

Eve had no intention of taking Aidens offer of help and marriage. But when things get worse and she realizes she holds the fate to more that just her own future she doesn't have much choice. Especially considering her two foster children.

They both decide to enter into a marriage in name only. They will marry which will save Eve from a unhappy fate and then they will part ways. Forever....but as the day draws near that Aiden will leave Eve finds her heart breaking just a little. Thinking it will be the last time she ever sees him she watches him ride away.

But when the Duke of Bewcastle, Aiden's older brother, finds out about this marriage he sets things in motion that will change the type of marriage Aiden and Eve both thought they had entered into.

With a dragon of an Aunt trying to change everything about Eve, and Aiden trying hard not to fall in love with this strong loving woman he married. But of course that isn't in the cards for him.

Oh and Aiden with the foster kids? OMG sooooo heart warming.

Hero: Rannulf Bedwyn
Heroine: Judith Law
Category: Historical
Page Count: 342
Grade: B-

With his laughing eyes and wild, rakish good looks, Lord Rannulf Bedwyn is a hard man to resist. To Judith Law, a woman in need of rescue when her stagecoach overturns, Rannulf is simply her savior, a heroic stranger she will reward with one night of reckless passion before she must become a companion to her wealthy aunt. Imagine Judith's shock when the same stranger turns out to be among England's most eligible bachelors…and when he arrives at Harewood Grange to woo her cousin. Certainly, they had made no vows, no promises, but Rannulf never did forget his uninhibited lover…nor did she forget that one delicious night. And as scandal sets the household abuzz, Rannulf proposes a solution…but when Judith refuses to have him--in love or wedlock--Rannulf has only one choice: to wage a campaign of pure pleasure to capture the heart of the woman who has already won his.

Fist let me just say that I find it hard to believe that as innocent as Judith was Rannulf believed that she was an actress. But that said I guess it just goes to show how good of one she really could have been if she had pursued it. lol.

Okay so for some reason I'm drawing a blank on details in this book and I don't want to put off my review any more.

So I'll just say....there was an annoying younger brother to Judith that was the reason her family was becoming rapidly poor and she was forced to go as a poor relation and stay with her aunt and uncle with their snotty daughter. The only good thing was her grandmother was there and they got along great.

After the one night of passion and deception she allowed herself with Rannulf she never thought she'd see him again. So imagine her surprise when he shows up at her aunts house to call on her cousin. And imagine Rannulfs surprise when the woman he thought was an actress that he became a little obsessed with and that ran out on him was indeed a poor relation staying at the house of the woman his grandmother wanted him to marry.

Try as he may Rannulf cannot resist the pull between him and Judith. But to convince Judith to marry him ends up being a lot harder than he thought.

Hero: Joshua Moore
Heroine: Freyja Bedwyn
Category: Historical
Page Count:374
Grade: B-

Growing up with four unruly brothers has made Freyja Bedwyn far bolder than most society ladies. From feisty manner to long, tumbling hair, Lady Freyja is pure fire, a woman who seeks both adventure and freedom.
Adventure soon finds her on a visit to Bath, when a handsome stranger bursts into Freyja's room and entreats her to hide him. His name is Joshua Moore, Marquess of Hallmere, a man with a hell-raising reputation of his own who is quickly intrigued by the independent beauty. So intrigued, in fact, that he makes her a surprising request: to pose as his fiancĂ©e and help thwart his family's matchmaking schemes. For two people determined to be free, it's the perfect plan…until passion blindsides them both. For as Joshua sets out to achieve his complete seduction of Freyja, a woman who has sworn off love is in danger of losing the one thing she never expected to give again: her heart…
From the Paperback edition.

When I read A Summer to Remember Freyja was a big part of it. And I didn't like her, AT ALL! So I was not looking forward to her book at all.

But the chemistry between Joshua and her was sooo funny I definitely changed my opinion on Freyja. And we definitely got more clarification on what happened involving her in ASTR.

The storyline I thought was a little to like ASTR but I guess since the characters were so different (well the heroines were) it worked. Joshua and Kit actually had some similarities, in their characters. Both of them had those "laughing" eyes, yes the part I didn't like in ASTR was the same in this, but not as much. While Joshua did have a tendency to be amused at almost everything, he did have a serious side. Thank God.

What started off as a joke for the two of them. Pretend to be betrothed just so Joshua wouldn't have his grandmother play matchmaker ended up with true feelings blooming. And what was supposed to last one week ended up lasting a month and then more.

Right when they would have broken it off Joshua gets hit with a life changing charge and Freyja decides to stand next to him in this hard time. And what comes next is for you to find out when you read their story.

Hero: Gervase Ashford
Heroine: Morgan Bedwyn
Category: Historical
Page Count: 356
Grade: B+

Young. Ravishing. Exquisitely marriageable. From the moment he spies Lady Morgan Bedwyn across the glittering ballroom, Gervase Ashford, Earl of Rosthorn, knows he has found the perfect instrument of his revenge. But wedlock is not on the mind of the continent's most notorious rake. Nor is it of interest to the fiercely independent Lady Morgan herself...until one night of shocking intimacy erupts in a scandal that could make Gervase's vengeance all the sweeter. There is only one thing standing in his way: Morgan, who has achieved the impossible - she's melted his coolly guarded heart. For Gervase, only the marriage bed will do, but Morgan simply will not have him. Thus begins a sizzling courtship where two wary hearts are about to be undone by the most scandalous passion of all: glorious, all-consuming love.

My favorite of the series is tied between this one and Wulfs story. Both sooo great. But you know I think this one wins by a margin.

I loved how independent and sure of herself Morgan was. She meets Gervase and he is obviously trying to woo her and she plays cool and aloof. She does let her guard down a little with him in her time of need and he is the only one available. But when the cold truth slaps her in her face that she was just a pawn in a revenge plot against her brother she fights back.

Instead of just humiliating Gervase, Morgan decides to accept his marriage proposal make him fall in love with her and then very publicly break their betrothal.

Only she doesn't expect to find such a honorable and lonely man under his mask. And some of her hardest challenges is deciding if she is seeing the real him or another mask.

The only thing that wasn't so great about this book is it was very anti climatic. The book was full of drama and then the end was just blah kinda. But I still loved the book very much!

Hero: Alleyne bedwyn
Heroine: Rachel York
Category: Historical
Page Count: 342
Grade: C+

As the fires of war raged around him, Lord Alleyne Bedwyn was thrown from his horse and left for dead--only to awaken in the bedchamber of a ladies' brothel. Suddenly the dark, handsome diplomat has no memory of who he is or how he got there--yet of one thing he is certain: The angel who nurses him back to health is the woman he vows to make his own. But like him, Rachel York is not who she seems. A lovely young woman caught up in a desperate circumstance, she must devise a scheme to regain her stolen fortune. The dashing soldier she rescued from near-death could be her savior in disguise. There is just one condition: she must pose as his wife--a masquerade that will embroil them in a sinful scandal, where a man and a woman court impropriety with each daring step...with every taboo kiss that can turn passionate strangers into the truest of lovers.

Why did it take me forever and a day to get through this book!!! OMG it wasn't even bad, it had a really good story line and I loved both H & H. Maybe cause I was reading it right before Christmas and my life was crazy but.....never the less lets get on with the review.

So Alleyne is traveling with a very important letter to deliver to the front of the battle lines but on his way back he is shot in the leg.....and his horse knocks him off his back and Alleyne hits his head being knocked out cold.

It is there that Rachel York finds him when she is supposed to be out searching dead bodies for money.

Rachel had been a companion to an elderly woman when she was swept off her feet by a lying thieving man. He took her measly savings and when she had bumped into her old nurse turned whore he pretended to care for even them and stole their entire live savings. Now Rachel was staying in their home with four working women. And they were determined to get what was theirs back.

But when Rachel finds Alleyne she yells that it's her husband and she needs help. He is taken back to the brothel she is staying at and when he awakes he remembers nothing. He knows not who he is or where he is from.

Alleyne needs to pay Rachel back for saving his life and he is also not so excited to venture out into England now knowing if he has any family awaiting him or where they are. So he goes with Rachel to her uncles house pretending to be her husband so she can get her jewels that are her inheritance.

We all know what happens to fake marriages in romance novels. Right? lol. So I am sure I did no justice to this story but go read it and see the journey Rachel and Alleyne take and how he finds himself and his love.

Hero: Wulfric Bedwyn, Duke of Bewcastle
Heroine: Christine Derrick
Category: Historical
Page Count: 365
Grade: B+

All of London is abuzz over the imminent arrival of Wulfric Bedwyn, the reclusive, cold-as-ice Duke of Bewcastle, at the most glittering social event of the season. Some whisper of a tragic love affair. Others say he is so aloof and passionless that not even the greatest beauty could capture his attention. But on this dazzling afternoon, one woman did catch the duke's eye--and she was the only female in the room who wasn't even trying. Christine Derrick is intrigued by the handsome duke…all the more so when he invites her to become his mistress.
What red-blooded woman wouldn't enjoy a tumble in the bedsheets with a consummate lover--with no strings and no questions asked. An infuriating lady with very definite views on men, morals, and marriage, Christine confounds Wulfric at every turn. Yet even as the lone wolf of the Bedwyn clan vows to seduce her any way he can, something strange and wonderful is happening. Now for a man who thought he'd never lose his heart, nothing less than love will do.

With her trademark wit, riveting storytelling, and sizzling sexual sparks, Mary Balogh once again brings together two polar opposites: an irresistible, high-and-mighty aristocrat and the impulsive, pleasure-loving woman who shows him what true passion is all about. A man and a woman so wrong for each other, it can result only in the perfect match.

I really really loved, well liked soooo much it bordered on love, this story! I absolutely am in love with Wulf! I want to cuddle him. haha.

So he is the aristocrat that never breaks any rules and lives but the very high standards of the ton. All the time....Until he finds himself getting a little lonely now that all of his siblings are married off.

He usually loves to be alone but it's kind of different when you choose to be by yourself in a household of people and when your all alone in every house you own and there is not even anyone to try and escape from.

So very uncharacteristically Wulf finds himself accepting an invitation to a house party. Thinking it is a gathering of intellectuals he is shocked and appalled to find himself at a house party hosted to celebrate a chits betrothal!

Not only that but he cannot keep himself from a certain school teacher that is also at the party. Certainly nobody he would have ever rubbed shoulders with but for some reason every time she does something horribly inappropriate he finds himself shocked and very much drawn to her.

In this last book we see a different side of Wulf, we see him as a man not only a Duke. We see how he has always struggled with his roll in life, and what an honorable man he is. And how no matter how cold he seems....he has a heart, it can break and he can definitely love.

Overall Grade for the Series: B