Monday, August 2, 2010

"Mistress by Mistake, In The Master's Bed, and One Dance with a Duke"

Backlog. Backlog. So many backlog reviews...

Mistress by Mistake by Susan Gee Hino
Release Date: Dec 1st 2009

How many of follies can be summed up to a night of too might drinking and to be left in the morning with a feeling of “what the hell did I do last night”. This is pretty much what happens to Heiress Evaline Pinchley. Evaline, who has playboy bunny blood flowing through her veins, indulges in bunny hood for one glorious night with the help of some wine. Too bad she can’t remember who her Hugh Hefner is in the morning when she wakes up in a stranger’s bed. 

Lord Randolf Dashford was in a bind. In his grief over his father death years ago he got himself engaged to marry a Miss. Claudia Graeley. Now he will do anything to get out of the engagement. His grand plan for this, made when he was drunk, was to make himself so wholly undesirable that Miss. Graeley would call off the engagement. He spends years making himself appear a first class rouge, womanizer, and a very money poor one at that. Unfortunate for him his plan is not working too well and his fiancĂ©e still wants to marry him. {Imagine what he could have come up with if he was sober when I was thinking off how to ditch the girl without getting shot}. Lord Dashford’s mother calls him back home for an “emergency” which he later learns is “up to her ears in shame and here is a nice young lady to marry” lingo. Dashford, in an effort to avoid the new heiress his mother has caught for him, decides to take a trip to the gardens where he meets a very drunk and what he believes servant. The servant being no servant of course, but Miss. Pinchley. Thus the story truly begins. 
I will have to admit this book was quite an effort to read. The author had me hooked at the beginning, but the never ending talk of sex got old. Fast. I can’t help but believe the author was horny when she wrote this book. There is no other way to explain sex, thoughts of sex, or anything to do with it showing up in almost every single chapter. I don’t see myself as a prude, but it was too much for my taste. Bring in Miss.Graeley, an ex fiancĂ© of Miss. Pinchley, Miss. Pinchley’s grandmother being a courtesan, a book about sex that was repeatedly found in the library, and another young man that we later learns has eyes on Miss. Graeley and you got a lot of it. It really dragged down the main story in such a way that you get annoyed with all of the talk of sex that you get tired of reading the book. 

I will give due to where due is deserved and say that is the author is quite capable of writing humorous scenes. There were many parts in the book that I found myself laughing out loud. I will also give props that when the author was not writing about the “s” word she could write very entertaining dialog. There was also an entertaining side story about a lost “Dashford” treasure that I really wished the author had spent more time on. Instead it felt a bit rushed. All in all, “Mistress by Mistake” was not really my cup of tea. Far too much spice in it and not enough sugar. Those who like spicy tea will enjoy this book immensely though. Those who like sweeter and more subdue teas will probably not. 

Rating: 2 bunnies

In The Master's Bed by Blythe Gifford
Release Date: Sep 1, 2009

Jane de Weston is sick of life as a woman. She wants nothing more than to have the freedom that men have. Never been very womanly she always felt as it would have been better had she been born a man. During the birth of her sister's child Jane keeps making mistakes, panics, and flees the manor. Disguised as a boy she intends to go to Cambridge and study to become a clerk in the kings court. On the way to there she runs into a "northerner" man. The man falls for her disguise as "John" and offers her a ride to Cambridge. Little does Jane suspect that this man is about to play a large part in her future. 

Duncan (Can't remember his last name being spoke) has finally earned his "Masters" and can now teach at Cambridge. His intent is to teach and earn enough money so he can go abroad to finish his training as a physician. There is only a few problems. One his father has recently been kidnapped and is being ransomed by the Scots. Two he has to find a way to convince parliament and the king to sent tropes and ransom money to the northern land where he lives. Three his unmanly urges towards Little John. Something is just not right with that boy. One way or another every single one of these problems has to be fixed. Especially the last one. 

I found that i really liked this book. The story really deals with the set "roles" that men and woman were supposed to occupy during the late 14th century. Jane wishes to become a scholar, but can't because she's a woman. The world expects her merely to marry, have children, and serve her household. Jane doesn't want this and for that hates being a woman. During the course of the story we see how women are treated and how men see them. While out as "John" one of Duncan's friends tries to force a girl into having sex with him justifying it as "she'll like it and he knows she wants it". The men argue that woman are nothing but lusty creatures who have no morals or knowledge and need men to give it to them. These things really set Jane off. Duncan stops his friends from harming the girl and the girl later becomes Jane's confidant. Jane just doesn't let the topic drop though. She makes herself heard that woman aren't like that. That it's not right to treat them that way. Unfortunately she falls on death ears due to the attitude at the time and is merely considered the "exception" when she is found out. This does not stop Jane from finding her own "woman" inside of her. As she spends time with Duncan she finds she wishes to be seen as a woman to him. She just wishes it to be on equal terms. That is something Duncan grants later calling her "a woman and a half". The story concludes with Duncan's left hand getting badly broken and unable to work normally again. This leads to Jane becoming Duncan's "left hand" and thus shows them finally as equals. They marry, have twins, and make plans to leave for Paris so Duncan can finish up his studies as a physician. 

Rating: 4 1/2 Bunnies. Great characters, great use of historical ideas of men and woman roles, and nicely done romance. My only complaint is that the plot felt week at times


One Dance with a Duke by Tessa Dare
Release Date: May 25th, 2010 

After reading “One Dance with a Duke” my first impression is that the title should be changed to “The Alpha Horsebreader and the Lady who loved him, but wanted to kill him at times”. 

This alpha horsebreader being the hero Spencer Dumarque, Duke of Morland. Now Spencer is the alpha and he’s not afraid to let you know it. He titled, large, and always in charge. So far he’s gathered seven of the ten “Stud Club” tokens and is determined to have them all. Most of all he wants the stud horse Osiris. Spencer, being the lover of all things Equus ferus caballus, knew a good piece of horse flesh when he saw it and Oisiris was a good piece of horse flesh. Spencer also knew how to be theaterical. For the last month he’s been gracing parties at the stroke of midnight and dacing with one girl. He then departs and not to been sceen again till the next stroke of midnight. On a night in June in 1817, he showed up at a ball ready to choose a wallflower, but instead got choosen by a Miss. Amelia d’Orsay. His troublesome night gets worse when he soon learns that the founder of the Stud Club has just been killed. He wishes to go learn more and talk to the founders sister. Unfortunalte for him Amelia wishes to go with him and she’s not taking no for an answer. 

Amelia d’Orsay is quite on the shelf. Near the age of thirty and not possessing great beauty, nor wealth, nor thiness she’s quite given up ever marrying. During a rather dull ball in June 1817, her happy thoughts of going to the family summer home is rudly interruped by her brother Jack telling her that they have to rent out the family summer home to pay back his gambling debt to the Duke of Morland. With this knowledge, Amelia sends Jack away and becomes determined to make the Duke release her brother of his debt. So determined in fact that she decides to make herself his partner for his annual midnight dance. Come hell or highwater, the Duke will release her brother from his debt. The one thing Amelia didn’t plan on was a sudden murder. 

I sort of have mixed impressions with this book. I really liked Amelia and I was cheering with her like “you go girl *snap snap snap*”. I really loved the fact that Amelia did not put up with any bull from Spencer. He might be the alpha male, but he’d sure to know she was the alpha female. She knew what to say and just how to say it. She was the perfect woman to go against such a strong alpha male. I also liked that she wasn’t descibed as a thin women. Her description had me imaging her as looking like January Jones. I believe that if Amelia could come up with a saying about herself it would be “Real heroines have curves”. 

There was other times though I was like “what are you doing? Kick him where it hurts”. One of these later moments happened on pages 258-261. This incident moved the book down a rating. A brief bit of information for this scene Amelia said that she wouldn’t bed him till Spencer’s innocence was proven in Leo’s death and that had to be proven by finding the “Stud Club Coin”. Spencer then said he would take everything from her and there was nothing she could do. Well Jack had it and Spencer won it from him in cards after hitting him from a supposed insult to Amelia. In this moment, Spencer has just thrown Jack out of the house and Amelia was pissed. I was like you tell! Don’t let him control you. Then Spencer was like “I AM YOUR HUSBAND” and then basically had angry sex with Amelia in which I didn’t feel that Amelia was all consenting. She said she was at the end of the chapter, but no.. I don’t like it when men force themselves on women. I felt Spencer had forced himself on her since she was in a very emotional state and not thinking all clearly. I have no tolerence for men forcing themselves upon women and this single incident knocked the book rating down in my opinion. 

Another one of my pet peeves was that Claudia, who had the opportunity to be a really good character basically transported herself into Sense and Sensibility. Funny enough since I had just watched the movie the night before I finished the book. Basically Spencer turns into Colonel Brandon and Claudia into Eliza Williams. I mean really turned into. Claudia and Eliza are the same age (15), run away, and both end up pregnant by a man who had claimed to love them. The only thing missing was Willoughby. I found myself scraching my head at this since the similarity was extremely stricking down to the fifteen year old being a ward of a bachlor man. I really didn’t like this at all. I understand taking things from other books and Jane Austen is a good inspiration, but there was too many direct simialiries for me to over looked. 

All that aside I really rather liked Spencer and Amelia’s relationship. I found it to rather cute how they started to get to know each other after their marriage of convience. I also really loved the witty banter between the two of them. It really made for some interesting and funny scenes. I highly recommend this book to everyone seeing as I really only had two problems with the book. My issues with the book might not be issues for other people. I would recommend this book to those who like Sense and Sensiblity mixed with a bit of “The Seducation of Sara” by Karen Hawkins. 

Rating: 4 Bunnies I had some issues with it, but it was still a rather delightful read.