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Friday, June 30, 2006

Spoilers or No?

I don't know when this all started. Why I need to know what's going to happen RIGHT. NOW. But I truly accepted my spoiler hoe status during Buffy and Angel. You see, I used to spend all my time trying to find spoilers for the shows. Then I found a site that was very accurate. So there I was checking the site every week. With Angel, I had found website where she received the feed of the new episode early in the morning, she'd watch it, then post a very good description on her site. Every week, I'd be at her site reading what happened. Why? Cause I could. Cause I needed to know what would happen to my darling sweet Angel.

Now I find myself looking for Prison Break spoilers. It's only season one though. Give it time, I'll find a decent spoiler site.

Thus, this carried over in books. Sometimes, I'll read the last chapter to find out how it ended. If I know someone who has read the book, I'll ask for spoilers. Although some of my friends have tried denying me spoilers. *gasp* But that's ok, cause with books, you just search different author boards, or now book blogs, and you'll be sure to find spoilers.

Now, you have those who want to know spoilers, but then get mad they were given spoilers. Or they have spoilers regret. Those are not true spoiler hoes. True spoiler hoes have no regrets and don't get upset upon receiving spoilers.

I am a true spoiler hoe. No regrets here. Bring it on baby. Unless I tell you no. If I tell you no, then I mean no. It's very rare though.

I have it bad. Movies, tv shows, books, give me spoilers.

And in case you are wondering, I did peak at the end of On the Way to the Wedding. I couldn't help it!

Isabel, Spoiler Hoe.

So tell me, are you a true spoiler hoe?
How do you feel about spoilers?

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Spoilers or No?

I don't know when this all started. Why I need to know what's going to happen RIGHT. NOW. But I truly accepted my spoiler hoe status during Buffy and Angel. You see, I used to spend all my time trying to find spoilers for the shows. Then I found a site that was very accurate. So there I was checking the site every week. With Angel, I had found website where she received the feed of the new episode early in the morning, she'd watch it, then post a very good description on her site. Every week, I'd be at her site reading what happened. Why? Cause I could. Cause I needed to know what would happen to my darling sweet Angel.

Now I find myself looking for Prison Break spoilers. It's only season one though. Give it time, I'll find a decent spoiler site.

Thus, this carried over in books. Sometimes, I'll read the last chapter to find out how it ended. If I know someone who has read the book, I'll ask for spoilers. Although some of my friends have tried denying me spoilers. *gasp* But that's ok, cause with books, you just search different author boards, or now book blogs, and you'll be sure to find spoilers.

Now, you have those who want to know spoilers, but then get mad they were given spoilers. Or they have spoilers regret. Those are not true spoiler hoes. True spoiler hoes have no regrets and don't get upset upon receiving spoilers.

I am a true spoiler hoe. No regrets here. Bring it on baby. Unless I tell you no. If I tell you no, then I mean no. It's very rare though.

I have it bad. Movies, tv shows, books, give me spoilers.

And in case you are wondering, I did peak at the end of On the Way to the Wedding. I couldn't help it!

Isabel, Spoiler Hoe.

So tell me, are you a true spoiler hoe?
How do you feel about spoilers?

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Spoilers or No?

I don't know when this all started. Why I need to know what's going to happen RIGHT. NOW. But I truly accepted my spoiler hoe status during Buffy and Angel. You see, I used to spend all my time trying to find spoilers for the shows. Then I found a site that was very accurate. So there I was checking the site every week. With Angel, I had found website where she received the feed of the new episode early in the morning, she'd watch it, then post a very good description on her site. Every week, I'd be at her site reading what happened. Why? Cause I could. Cause I needed to know what would happen to my darling sweet Angel.

Now I find myself looking for Prison Break spoilers. It's only season one though. Give it time, I'll find a decent spoiler site.

Thus, this carried over in books. Sometimes, I'll read the last chapter to find out how it ended. If I know someone who has read the book, I'll ask for spoilers. Although some of my friends have tried denying me spoilers. *gasp* But that's ok, cause with books, you just search different author boards, or now book blogs, and you'll be sure to find spoilers.

Now, you have those who want to know spoilers, but then get mad they were given spoilers. Or they have spoilers regret. Those are not true spoiler hoes. True spoiler hoes have no regrets and don't get upset upon receiving spoilers.

I am a true spoiler hoe. No regrets here. Bring it on baby. Unless I tell you no. If I tell you no, then I mean no. It's very rare though.

I have it bad. Movies, tv shows, books, give me spoilers.

And in case you are wondering, I did peak at the end of On the Way to the Wedding. I couldn't help it!

Isabel, Spoiler Hoe.

So tell me, are you a true spoiler hoe?
How do you feel about spoilers?

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Mr. Perfect by Linda Howards


Hero: Sam Donovan
Heroine: Jaine Bright
Grade: A-

What would make the perfect man?

That's the deliciously racy topic that Jaine Bright and her three girlfriends are pondering one night at their favorite after-hours hot spot: Mr. Perfect. Would he be tall, dark, and handsome? Caring and warmhearted -- or will just muscular do? As their conversation hears up, they concoct a tongue-in-cheek checklist that becomes an overnight sensation, spreading like wildfire at work and sizzling along e-mail lines. But what began as a joke among friends turns deadly serious when one of the four women is murdered....Turning to her neighbor, an unpredictable police detective, for help, Jaine must unmask a killer to save her friends -- and herself. Now, knowing whom to trust and whom to love is a matter of survival -- as the dream of Mr. Perfect becomes a chilling nightmare.

For starters, this book flat out rocked my flippin' socks.

I loved this book the first time I read it and I loved it even more the numerous other times I've read it, and this last reread was no different. Hot damn, I can read that window scene over and over again and still love it to pieces.

Jaine Bright is a great heroine, she's smart, she's sassy and she doesn't take any bull from anyone. She's just your average girl next door type but man has she got a quick wit that will have you laughing and rootin' her on at the same time, she's great fun to read about and she brought a lot of personality to the book. She's really a man's best wet dream wrapped up in one woman. She's smart, sexy and she has an obsession with cool cars, what's not to love right?

Sam Donovan is one hot ass hero. Pardon my french. LOL. Damn, I loved him even when Jaine thought he was a horrible drunk with no job and what not. I loved when they fought in front of her house because she made all the racket in front of their houses with the garbage can, I loved when they fought in front of her house when she was washing her car and how they almost ended up doing it right then and there.

But what I most loved about him was the window scene in this book...if you've read this book, you know what I'm talking about, if you haven't then by all that's holy, you're missing out on one of the BEST window scenes ever written, *grin* So you should totally get out there and get this book and then read the heck out of it...you'll totally enjoy it.

This book is action packed, humor filled mixed with a bit of mystery. It's one of those books that you won't want to put down until the very last page and the love story in the book is such a good one, I'm serios when I say, GET THIS BOOK...everyone should read this book at least once in their life.

I'm pretty sure that you'll like it...how can you not?

My favorite quote in this book?

"She didn't like being married to a cop and I didn't like being married to a bitch."

-Sam Donovan

Oh you gotta love it.
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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Saving Grace by Julie Garwood


Hero: Gabriel McBain
Heroine: Johanna
Grade: A+

When Lady Johanna learned that she was a widow, she vowed she would never marry again. Only sixteen, already she possessed a strength of will that impressed all who looked past her golden-haired beauty. Yet when King John demanded that she remarry—and selected a bridegroom for her—it seemed she must acquiesce, until her beloved foster brother suggested she wed his friend, the handsome Scottish warrior Gabriel MacBain.

At first Johanna was shy, but as Gabriel tenderly revealed the splendid pleasures they would share, she came to suspect that she was falling in love with her gruff new husband. And it was soon apparent to the entire Highlands clan that their brusque, gallant laird had surrendered his heart completely. But now a desperate royal intrigue threatened to tear her from his side—and to destroy the man whose love meant more to her than she had ever dreamed!


This was one of the books by Julie Garwood that I read twice before moving on to the next book on my TBR pile. Yes, this book was that good.

You see, Lady Johanna is one smart cookie. You can see why she's such a smart cookie when you read the book (trust me, you won't be sorry you read it, it's a GREAT book), but above her smartness, she's also very strong. What I liked most about this book (besides the to die for hero and brother) is we see Johanna's growth in character as the story progresses, you see her as the weakling she seemed to be at the very beginning and with the help of Gabriel McBain, she comes out of her shell and transforms into this beautiful woman who knows her own mind and is no longer afraid to show it.

The turn around in Johanna is a most enjoyable feature in this story, because you can see why Gabriel couldn't help but fall in love with Johanna, because buried deep inside of her was a spirit so strong and so true that anyone would have wanted to help bring it out, I'm so very glad that it was Gabriel who came to her rescue, when Nicholas practically gave Johanna to him, it was such a great blessing to the both of them, because they both needed each other, quite desperately.

This entire story is one of the best love stories I've read to date. I may say that a lot, but this one is one that will stay with you long after you've finished the book. It's that good.

Gabriel is a strong hero who needs Johanna just as much as she needs him. I loved the ending, when Gabriel is standing behind Johanna the entire she says her speech to Raulf? Loved it. I loved what Gabriel helps her do at the end too, that scene was so sweet and so poignant, I love it to pieces.

Some memorable scenes from this book:


  • When Johanna tells Alex that Gabriel gave her a son as a wedding gift, Awww.
  • The teaching of manners at the dining table.
  • Johanna sewing the plaids together.
  • The Punishment Stick.
  • Johanna's nickname for Glynis.
  • Johanna saving Claire's life with her arrow.
  • Johanna fainting when they're trying to find a way to get a noser.

My list can go on, seriously...that's how much I love this book. Another thing I loved about this book was Baron Nicholas, I was mad at Gabriel for a little bit on Nicholas' behalf and I thought it was extremely nice of Nicholas to stand up for Claire the way he did, even though I did start out a bit standoffish where Nicholas was concerned because of you know what (well those of you who have read this book, knows that I'm talking about, if you haven't, read it so you can know too!), he was her brother and what not...

Okay seriously, I can go on and on about why I love this book so much, but I'll stop here, just suffice it to say that this book is the bomb dot com and you're missing out on some serious good reading if you haven't read this book, so get on it right this minute!

...what are you still doing on this blog? Get thee hence to the bookstore and get this book and read it, dag nabbit! =)

A+ that's what this book gets!

Rene Lyons (humble guest reviewer) says:

Well, first let me thank the ladies of SF for allowing to add my two cents to this review. See, SG is a book dear to my heart. This was the book I read that inspired me to write.

What drew me to this book was the tortured heroine. JG did it in a way that women who suffered such abuse in 'real life' could relate and have a heroine with enough strength to inspire courage in themselves. I think that's what drew to me to this book and had me instantly falling in love with Johanna. Her reaction to her husband being dead hit my heart like an arrow and had me staying up for almost twenty-four hours straight to finish the book.

Johanna's dignity and strength truly made her, a herione worth admiring.

Now, Gabriel...ah...he is all things wonderful to me and to this day still stands as my favorite hero.

Johanna's journey from 'cautious' to learning how to enjoy life was heartwarming. The love between her and Gabriel lept off the page. So much so, that when her 'dead' husband returns (I hate him too much to even write his name here. lol) and she stands proud before him, you can just feel her love for not only Gabriel, but her newfound family as well.

I think it goes without saying that I give this book an A+

Grace says:

This is without a doubt yet another winner by JG. Once again JG has been able to successfully throw elements of witty humor, sass and poignant moments to tug at your heart, and make you want to read and re-read this one over and over.

The JG trademark - ending one chapter and beginning the next in direct contradiction - is also evident in this book right from the very beginning. It made me laugh, as it always does, to see one chapter end with Gabriel predicting that Johanna won't deny him, and will marry him...and then to see Johanna flat out denying him on the very next page. I do so love these contradictions!

It was a true joy to see how this book progressed. At first we got a little glimpse of the horror Johanna had been living in, married to Raulf, causing her to tame her spirit in fear of being wrongfully punished. But while she was very cautious and even somewhat afraid - and rightly so - her first marriage was never able to break her.

It is through Gabriels gruff but surprisingly gentle ways that Johanna begins to feel a certain ease that she had not been given the freedom to feel, being married to Raulf. Gabriel reassured her countless times and ways that he would more likely lay his life on the line to protect her, than harm any part of her. A promise he made to her, right from the beginning.

As the book continued on, we saw Johanna slowly start to build up her sense of esteem and belonging to the clan, and even unleashing her fiesty sass on her husband whenever the mood struck. It was so wonderful to see Johanna finally feel safe enough to let her true colours show and be at ease. Reading about scenes where Johanna was no longer afraid to sass Gabriel back when he was roaring at her for something or other was another great treat, because it just demonstrated exactly how far she had come during her time in the Highlands. I think Johanna is probably one of my most favoured JG heroines, because she showed so much strength and courage, even when it was very difficult for her to do so.

Now Gabriel..Oh how I love Gabriel MacBain. He's a fierce warrior through and through but surprisingly, or perhaps not, he was just as capable of being very gentle and considerate to his petite little wife. Not to mention, quite protective. It was so cute to see him chasing Johanna down to make her rest all the time so she didn't get sick and die on him. And it was also cute to read about Gabriel realising he was a warrior who loved his wife..and who was hell bent on making his wife love him too.

"She'd snared him all right, blindsided him she had...."

"There was only one course of action left to him. Johanna was going to have to love him. By God, he wasn't about to let himself become this vulnerable without gaining equal measure."


All in all, this one is definitely a keeper. Just the storyline between Gabriel and Johanna makes this well worth the read, but the addition of secondary characters and even love interests make it even better. If you haven't read this one yet, I'd highly recommend it. You wouldn't want to miss out, now would you? *grin*

5/5

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When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn

Everything was so much simpler…
When he was wicked.
In every life there is a turning point.

A moment so tremendous, so sharp and breathtaking, that one knows one's life will never be the same. For Michael Stirling, London's most infamous rake, that moment came the first time he laid eyes on Francesca Bridgerton.

After a lifetime of chasing women, of smiling slyly as they chased him, of allowing himself to be caught but never permitting his heart to become engaged, he took one look at Francesca Bridgerton and fell so fast and hard into love it was a wonder he managed to remain standing. Unfortunately for Michael, however, Francesca's surname was to remain Bridgerton for only a mere thirty-six hours longer — the occasion of their meeting was, lamentably, a supper celebrating her imminent wedding to his cousin.

But that was then…Now Michael is the earl and Francesca is free, but still she thinks of him as nothing other than her dear friend and confidant. Michael dares not speak to her of his love…until one dangerous night, when she steps innocently into his arms, and passion proves stronger than even the most wicked of secrets…


Isabel Says

Alot of people don't like When He Was Wicked. I mean a lot. I don't know anyone who likes this book. Except me. Yes, I LOVE this book. I'm probably going to get flogged, but oh well. Now, these are the reasons I've heard why they don't like the book.

1) It's too dark for a Bridgerton book.

JQ's Bridgerton series is light hearted and feel good. There isn't too much drama. It's witty and funny. WHWW is dark. First her husband dies, then she miscarries, then Michael comes back from India with Malaria. Yeah, when it rains it pours. So it is a darker book than from what we're used to with the series. Which is exactly why I liked it. It was different. I admit I was expecting something along the line like her other books and I was pleasantly surprised.

2) Francesca was happily married before.

Someone said, if Francesca was beaten or treated badly, it would've been different. But she was happily married and then widowed. It didn't bother me she was happily married because we really didn't know the guy. I didn't have an attachment to him. Had JQ wrote snippets of them in previous books, then yeah I would've had a hard time with accepting her book. Plus, if she did have an unhappy first marriage, you really think the Bridgerton brothers would've allowed her to be treated badly? You think she would've put up with it? I think not.

Plus it was nice that Francesca actually loved her first husband and had a loving marriage. Almost every book I've read where the heroine was already married, she had an unhappy marriage.


3) We don't know Francesca

This, I kind of agree with. We hardly ever see her mentioned in the books. The only time we see dialouge with her is in An Offer From a Gentleman.

JQ does write that Francesca had felt different from the rest of her sibilings. Not shy, just more reserved. But still, it would've been nice to read more about her in previous books.

Those are the main reasons I've heard. Francesca wants to have to have a baby and to do that she realizes she must get married. She's not expecting to have what she had with John with her first husband.

But then she starts feeling things for Michael. Passion. And it scares her. She thinks she's dishonoring her first marriage. She feels guilt for feeling these things. I don't blame her. I think I would be the same way to tell you truth.

I like this book. It's one of my favorites in the series. And it's probably the most erotic out of the series. The scene where they take shelter from the rain. Damn. I've reread that scene several times.

You should also know, that timeline wise, this books happens before and during Romancing Mr. Bridgerton. You'll see mention of Penelope and Eloise unmarried. So don't get confused.

Favorite Quote:





He moved, and she moved beneath him, and they were both already aroused that it
was a mere moment later that they exploded. And he, who had slept with
countless women, suddenly realized that he'd been nothing but a green boy.
Because it had never been like this. That had been his body. This was his soul.


Grade: B+

Dylan's Review:

Hero: Michael Stirling
Heroine: Francesca Bridgerton-Stirling
Grade: B+ (A very high B)

Okay, wow. This book was wicked. And I absolutely LOVED it.


This book is as Izzy mentioned much more erotic then the other Bridgerton books, is that a drawback for me? Heavens no, it made me love the book all the more and like Izzy once again, this book is one of my favorite books of the series.

This book was a much better book for me than Eloise's book was, and though now that I look back on reading To Sir Phillip with Love, I DID like the book but not nearly as much as I liked When He Was Wicked. Oh gosh, I really loved Michael Stirling.

To have loved his cousin's wife for so long and then the guilt he felt when said cousin died, leaving the woman he has loved for so long, widowed. Good gosh, what a predicament that left him in. He spent a great deal of the book guilt stricken because he couldn't help thinking that maybe subconsciously, he had somehow brought about the death of his cousin for coveting his wife for so long.

Okay, yeah this book was a really great one but from the very beginning I loved Michael Stirling. You could tell he felt horrible about his feelings for Francesca, you could tell he didn't WANT to feel any of those feelings, that he worked extra hard to make sure noone was the wiser of his true feelings for Francesca, most especially Francesca herself.

I really enjoyed this book and yeah it was a bit dark with all the sicknesses and the deaths but that didn't stop me from liking it or even liking it less because it didn't fit in with the rest of the Bridgerton books. It may have not been like the rest of the Bridgerton books, but Francesca was not like the rest of the Bridgertons, she was different and so I thought JQ did a great job with this book by making it different and more...Francesca.

Even not really knowing who Francesca because she didn't really appear all that much in the other books, that again was just...Francesca to me. Yes, Francesca was mentioned in the other books but she didn't really play any part in the books but that again just went to show that Francesca was different.

One of my favorite things about the book was the cute little snippets of letters at the top of each chapter, this one was one that made me sigh...Michael is such a cutie patootie.

...Did Francesca say that she misses me? Or did you merely infer it?
-from the Earl of Kilmartin to his mother, Helen Stirling, two years and two months after his departure for India.


And then this one...

...but as you have written, Francesca is managing Kilmartin with admirable skill. I do not mean to shirk my duties, and I assure you, had I not suhch an able stand in, I would return immediately.
-from the Earl of Kilmartin to his mother, Helen Striling, two years and six months after his departure for India, written with a muttered, "She never answered my question."


Oh I just love that man!

I liked this book, I liked how hot it was and I liked how the story ended. I just downright liked this book. Now come along Izzy, we shall stand together in our flogging.

The Duke and I
The Viscount Who Loved Me
An Offer From A Gentleman
Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
To Sir Phillip, With Love
When He Was Wicked

It's In His Kiss
On the Way to the Wedding

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Hot Seat Days!

Hey all of our Fellow Readers of Sanctuary's Finest!

We're going to start a Hot Seat Day sort of thing, where we're taking the Getting to our Readers into more depth, where we'd spot light one of our readers each month and we get to grill them with questions that will surely toast their buns! =) In an effort to get a closer relationship with our readers...(that includes ALL OF YOU LURKERS TOO) =)

Our first victim reader that we'll shower all the attention on is Imaginary Origin's Mailyn...

So ladies, today is Mailyn's day, let's shower her with attention and question, you guys get to ask WHATEVER question you want to know about her, let's grill her good!

HAPPY HOT SEAT DAY MAILYN!



Put on your tiara sweets and let the good times roll...

Hugs,
The ladies of Sanctuary's Finest.

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Divalicious




I am sorry to have to tell you all that Sanctuary's Finest will be on hiatus for the next few day as the girls have run into some security problems. It seems some wacko tried to hack and sabotage their site. They have an idea of who it may be and it's rather sad actually that people would do such a thing. Jealousy is not a pretty thing.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

It's in His Kiss by Julia Quinn


Meet Our Hero ...
Gareth St. Clair is in a bind. His father, who detests him, is determined to beggar the St. Clair estates and ruin his inheritance. Gareth's sole bequest is an old family diary, which may or may not contain the secrets of his past .. and the key to his future. The problem is -- it's written in Italian, of which Gareth speaks not a word.


Meet Our Heroine ...

All the town agreed: there was no one quite like Hyacinth Bridgerton. She's fiendishly smart, devilishly outspoken, and according to Gareth, probably best in small doses. But there's something about her -- something charming and vexing -- that grabs him and won't quite let go ...


Meet Poor Mr. Mozart ...

Or don't. But rest assured, he's spinning in his grave when Gareth and Hyacinth cross paths at the annual -- and annually discordant -- Smythe-Smith musicale. To Hyacinth, Gareth's every word seems a dare, and she offers to translate his diary, even though her Italian is slightly less than perfect. But as they delve into the mysterious text, they discover that the answers they seek lie not in the diary, but in each other ... and that there is nothing as simple -- or as complicated -- as a single, perfect kiss.

Isabel Says

This book is cute. Little Hyacinth all grown up. Remember when she flirted with Simon in The Duke and I? How time does fly. :)

Gareth is a bastard. Which explains why the man he thought was his father was a jerk to him. They try to avoid each other at all cost.

Hyacinth is enjoying her... 3rd or 4th year on the marriage mart. Well, not really enjoying. She's received some proposals, but none that catch her fancy. You see she's known for her wit, her smart remarks. Kind of like a Lady Danbury in training. And the men are afraid of her. She needs someone who can keep with her.

Gareth is given a diary written by his Italian grandmother. He visits his other grandma, who happens to be Lady Danbury in hopes she'll know some one who can read Italian. Enter Hyacinth.

They find out his grandmother head jewels in the house he grew up in. Hyacinth and Gareth are now on a mini treasure hunt to find the jewels. Does she find them? Hmmmm. Not telling. :) But I will tell you Gareth does learn who his real father is.

I like the scene with Gregory is teasing Hyacinth, talking in a lisp. Laughed when he said Gareth must be her special friend. Something a big brother would do to embarrass a younger sister. The main thing that bothered me beside the epilogue, is when Gareth confronts his "father." When Gareth tells him who really sired him, his "father" just make a comment and walks away. I agree with Hyacinth when she says, "That's it!" I wanted more with that scene.

Also, love when Anthony is relieved to be rid of all his sisters when Gareth asks for Hyacinth's hand. Ha ha.

Favorite quote:



"Just yank your dress down a little when next you see him. Men lose all sense at
the sight of a healthy bosom. " Lady Danbury to Hyacinth.

Grade: B

Dylan's Review:

Hero: Gareth St. Claire
Heroine: Hyacinth Bridgerton
Grade: B-

This was a cute one.

I liked Hyacinth in the previous novels and it was good to see her all grown up. She's in her fourth season now and her first season, she had three offers for her hand, her second season she had two offers for her hand and her third, she only one offer for her hand, so Hyacinth is really hoping that there isn't a pattern to the offers for her hand because if they stuck with the pattern she seemed to be stuck in, she wouldn't be getting ANY offers this season.

And though, she's very happy with her life, she is getting a bit itchy. She doesn't know that she's longing for change until one Tuesday.

A Tuesday that changed her life forever.

You see, every Tuesday Hyacinth reads to Lady Danbury, you know the crochety old lady from the previous books, the old lady that everyone steers clear of because she tells it like it is and if she doesn't like you, she tells you, right to your face. It's one thing that Hyacinth really likes and admires about Lady Danbury. On the Tuesday that changed her life, Lady Danbury's grandson, Gareth St. Claire comes to his grandmother for aid.

Long story short, Gareth needs Hyacinth to translate his other Grandmother's diary to find out where she hid the jewels that will help save Gareth's inheritance. You see, Gareth's 'father' is doing everything he can to ruin Gareth's inheritance, because Gareth's mother was unfaithful to her husband and got pregnant with Gareth while he was away. So because of this, her husband is horrid to Gareth and Gareth never knew why.

The story was such a cute story until the scene Izzy talked about with Gareth's 'father'. After all the pain and suffering Lord St. Claire did to Gareth, you would think that Gareth would have given the old man the ol' heave ho in style. Surely, something more dramatic was warranted for Gareth. I mean, he was seriously in need of a set down and Gareth never gave it to him, so aside from that crap, the book was cute and I enjoyed Gareth and Hyacinth's love story.

It was cute to see them falling for each other, especially Gareth. You would think that because this was a Bridgerton story that I would have been more wrapped up in Hyacinth, but the truth of the matter was, I was totally infatuated with Gareth St. Claire and I rather enjoyed his story.

It's a great addition to the Bridgerton series and it was back to the norm for the Bridgerton series, it wasn't dark like Francesca's story but it was still cute and fun.

A good read.


The Duke and I
The Viscount Who Loved Me
An Offer From A Gentleman
Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
To Sir Phillip, With Love
When He Was Wicked

It's In His Kiss
On the Way to the Wedding

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It's In His Kiss by Julia Quinn


Meet Our Hero ...
Gareth St. Clair is in a bind. His father, who detests him, is determined to beggar the St. Clair estates and ruin his inheritance. Gareth's sole bequest is an old family diary, which may or may not contain the secrets of his past .. and the key to his future. The problem is -- it's written in Italian, of which Gareth speaks not a word.


Meet Our Heroine ...

All the town agreed: there was no one quite like Hyacinth Bridgerton. She's fiendishly smart, devilishly outspoken, and according to Gareth, probably best in small doses. But there's something about her -- something charming and vexing -- that grabs him and won't quite let go ...


Meet Poor Mr. Mozart ...

Or don't. But rest assured, he's spinning in his grave when Gareth and Hyacinth cross paths at the annual -- and annually discordant -- Smythe-Smith musicale. To Hyacinth, Gareth's every word seems a dare, and she offers to translate his diary, even though her Italian is slightly less than perfect. But as they delve into the mysterious text, they discover that the answers they seek lie not in the diary, but in each other ... and that there is nothing as simple -- or as complicated -- as a single, perfect kiss.

Isabel Says

This book is cute. Little Hyacinth all grown up. Remember when she flirted with Simon in The Duke and I? How time does fly. :)

Gareth is a bastard. Which explains why the man he thought was his father was a jerk to him. They try to avoid each other at all cost.

Hyacinth is enjoying her... 3rd or 4th year on the marriage mart. Well, not really enjoying. She's received some proposals, but none that catch her fancy. You see she's known for her wit, her smart remarks. Kind of like a Lady Danbury in training. And the men are afraid of her. She needs someone who can keep with her.

Gareth is given a diary written by his Italian grandmother. He visits his other grandma, who happens to be Lady Danbury in hopes she'll know some one who can read Italian. Enter Hyacinth.

They find out his grandmother head jewels in the house he grew up in. Hyacinth and Gareth are now on a mini treasure hunt to find the jewels. Does she find them? Hmmmm. Not telling. :) But I will tell you Gareth does learn who his real father is.

I like the scene with Gregory is teasing Hyacinth, talking in a lisp. Laughed when he said Gareth must be her special friend. Something a big brother would do to embarrass a younger sister. The main thing that bothered me beside the epilogue, is when Gareth confronts his "father." When Gareth tells him who really sired him, his "father" just make a comment and walks away. I agree with Hyacinth when she says, "That's it!" I wanted more with that scene.

Also, love when Anthony is relieved to be rid of all his sisters when Gareth asks for Hyacinth's hand. Ha ha.

Favorite quote:



"Just yank your dress down a little when next you see him. Men lose all sense at
the sight of a healthy bosom. " Lady Danbury to Hyacinth.

Grade: B

Dylan's Review:

Hero: Gareth St. Claire
Heroine: Hyacinth Bridgerton
Grade: B-

This was a cute one.

I liked Hyacinth in the previous novels and it was good to see her all grown up. She's in her fourth season now and her first season, she had three offers for her hand, her second season she had two offers for her hand and her third, she only one offer for her hand, so Hyacinth is really hoping that there isn't a pattern to the offers for her hand because if they stuck with the pattern she seemed to be stuck in, she wouldn't be getting ANY offers this season.

And though, she's very happy with her life, she is getting a bit itchy. She doesn't know that she's longing for change until one Tuesday.

A Tuesday that changed her life forever.

You see, every Tuesday Hyacinth reads to Lady Danbury, you know the crochety old lady from the previous books, the old lady that everyone steers clear of because she tells it like it is and if she doesn't like you, she tells you, right to your face. It's one thing that Hyacinth really likes and admires about Lady Danbury. On the Tuesday that changed her life, Lady Danbury's grandson, Gareth St. Claire comes to his grandmother for aid.

Long story short, Gareth needs Hyacinth to translate his other Grandmother's diary to find out where she hid the jewels that will help save Gareth's inheritance. You see, Gareth's 'father' is doing everything he can to ruin Gareth's inheritance, because Gareth's mother was unfaithful to her husband and got pregnant with Gareth while he was away. So because of this, her husband is horrid to Gareth and Gareth never knew why.

The story was such a cute story until the scene Izzy talked about with Gareth's 'father'. After all the pain and suffering Lord St. Claire did to Gareth, you would think that Gareth would have given the old man the ol' heave ho in style. Surely, something more dramatic was warranted for Gareth. I mean, he was seriously in need of a set down and Gareth never gave it to him, so aside from that crap, the book was cute and I enjoyed Gareth and Hyacinth's love story.

It was cute to see them falling for each other, especially Gareth. You would think that because this was a Bridgerton story that I would have been more wrapped up in Hyacinth, but the truth of the matter was, I was totally infatuated with Gareth St. Claire and I rather enjoyed his story.

It's a great addition to the Bridgerton series and it was back to the norm for the Bridgerton series, it wasn't dark like Francesca's story but it was still cute and fun.

A good read.


The Duke and I
The Viscount Who Loved Me
An Offer From A Gentleman
Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
To Sir Phillip, With Love
When He Was Wicked

It's In His Kiss
On the Way to the Wedding

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To Sir Phillip With Love by Julia Quinn

Sir Phillip knew that Eloise Bridgerton was a spinster, and so he'd proposed, figuring that she'd be homely and unassuming, and more than a little desperate for an offer of marriage. Except she wasn't. The beautiful woman on his doorstep was anything but quiet, and when she stopped talking long enough to close her mouth, all he wanted to do was kiss her and more.

Did he think she was mad? Eloise Bridgerton couldn't marry a man she had never met! But then she started thinking and wondering and before she knew it, she was in a hired carriage in the middle of the night, on her way to meet the man she hoped might be her perfect match. Except he wasn't. Her perfect husband wouldn't be so moody and ill-mannered, and while Phillip was certainly handsome, he was a large brute of a man, rough and rugged, and totally unlike the London gentlemen vying for her hand. But when he smiled and when he kissed her the rest of the world simply fell away, and she couldn't help but wonder could this imperfect man be perfect for her?



Isabel Says

If you remember from reading Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, Colin suspected Eloise of being Lady Whistledown because her fingers always had ink stains. When Colin asked her about it, she got all defensive. You may also remember, the night of Violet's party, Eloise disappeared.

Turns out she has been corresponding with Sir Phillip Crane, the widower of her distant cousin. Because she knew her family would probably think she was nuts, she ran off during the party. They have been writing each other for a year and Phillip asks Eloise to visit him. He basically proposes to her in the letter. Eloise at first thinking um... no. But then Colin and Penelope get married and she realizes why not?

Sir Phillip Crane is a botanist. He likes working in green house. He'll spend hours in there working on experiments and what not. But turns out he's using his green house to escape his children. He has twins, Amanda and Oliver from his first wife. They are quite the handful. When Eloise arrives, a battle of pranks occur. Eloise can hold her own having grown upsiblingsibilings. But it all comes to a halt, when Eloise falls on a trip wire and bruises her cheek and eye.

To make matters worse, Anthony, Benedict, Colin and Gregory (who is 21 or 23) arrive at the house. They of course think Phillip beat Eloise, jump to conclusions. They back Phillip into a corner and are ready to just thrash him. Anthony pulls Eloise aside to have a talk with her. When they come back from their talk, they are drunk. Yup, drunk as skunks and talking about a tavern wench with big boobs. I thought this scene was humorous.

The only problem I have with this book is that Eloise never found out who Lady Whistledown was. She was one of the people trying to figure out. For those of you who have read the book, didn't think Eloise should've been told. Or there should've been something worked in with her finding out who she was? That's my major problem. I'm hoping with JQ writing the second epilouges, she'll write that scene.

This book is all right. I like when Phillip finally realizes he needs to be a father to the children and see's Eloise as something more than just a wife. Cause really, he wanted someone to raise the kids and just be there.

Grade: B-

Dylan's Review:

Hero: Sir Phillip Crane
Heroine: Eloise Bridgerton
Dylan's Grade: C+

Alright, so this story did end up being a good book. But for me, it was really slow to begin and it took me a lot to get through the first like, third of the book. I guess it was because I couldn't relate to Phillip all that much, I guess it's because I basically judged him too harshly in the beginning, when he didn't take an active part in his children's life, I hated how he just threw them on their nurses plate and had them take care of them, so that he didn't have to. I hated how he didn't take the time out of his botany duties to check on his kids. And another thing I hated most about him is that one of the main reasons he married Eloise, goofy and fun loving Eloise from the other books, is so that she can be a mother to his kids, first and foremost.

That really irked me, I know it shouldn't have bothered me so much because in that time period, love matches weren't really popular, since everyone married to get rich or merge two great families together. I guess, because Eloise was a Bridgerton and everyone else in her family, I didn't want anything less for Eloise.

The children, Oh MYLANTA! I would have paddled their behinds if I was their mother, glueing their governesses hair to the pillow? planting a trip wire so that Eloise falls and gets a black eye? What the bloody hell was Phillip thinking, NOT to discipline his children?

Of course, everything makes sense in the end, but by all that's Holy I wanted to pummel him for not taking them aside and showing them that they can't go on as they have been.

The book, did however pick up as soon as The Bridgertons came into the picture. Oh how I loved how the Bridgerton boys came in and rained on Eloises' parade. It was comical, really. I loved when the boys initiated Phillip into the ranks. I love how they all hate his guts one minute and then Anthony and Eloise come back and they've gotten him drunk and talking about Big Boobs Lucy! Too frickin' funny. I also love how real their family behaves.

I can totally see my brothers reacting the same way that Eloises brothers acted in this book, there have been times when my brothers didn't want me to play the same games they were playing, especially word games since I always best them at it, I swear adding The Bridgertons into any story makes the story all the more enjoyable.

And I, for one was so glad to see more of Benedict. I love this man, maybe it's because of how big he is, I don't know, but for some reason, for me, it's always been about Benedict Bridgerton, no matter how much I love Colin and Anthony, for me, it's always been Benedict who had my Bridgerton heart! I heart Benedict. LOL.

I loved seeing Anthony again, to see him is to love. He's done well by his brothers and sisters and you can totally tell that he has nothing but love for all of them, my heart went out to him when he freaked out about the bee comment, Eloise threw at him while on her walk with Phillip. I loved seeing his distress over his little sister, I loved seeing him yell and scold Eloise and I loved how he made her feel special after their talk. He may have come down on her hard, but there was no mistaking the love he had for his sister.

Whoa, Gregory is a grown man now, woo hoo...watch out now!

Colin, oh my hell, this man can eat like there's no tomorrow, I loved him in his story and I loved him in Eloises as well.

For me, the ending made the book so much better. The way JQ brought all of the problems to the front and solved them all, made me love the book. I loved how Phillip handled the evil Nurse Edwards (that was her name, right? I forget that biznatches name!), I loved how he came around and wanted to be a better father to Amanda and Oliver. I also loved how he loved Eloise and the grand gesture at the end? What a way to use his botanist skills, LOVED IT! And I also loved the way he brought it all back to the way they met...through letters! That was so cute!

When they're all in the dress shop and out on that family outing at the end had me totally sighing and oohing and ahhing, it was just the perfect way to end the book.

Now, my gripes? What happened to Marina? Why on earth was she the way she was? Was she born melancholy? Did something happen to her that made her the way she was? We never found out, hello? I need to know this...and then also, like Izzy, I hated how Eloise never found out who Lady Whistledown was, she should have found out dangit!

But this book was good, not as good as the other Bridgertons but I'm not mad that I read it. I'd recommend this book, because it's part of the series, and because the end is worth the rest of the book.

The Duke and I
The Viscount Who Loved Me
An Offer From A Gentleman
Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
To Sir Phillip, With Love
When He Was Wicked

It's In His Kiss
On the Way to the Wedding

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How Much Is Too Much?


Sometimes I think too much. It tends to get me into trouble, but it isn't really something I can avoid doing. I know, I've tried. I guess I just have too much time on my hands or something, because I'll be reading a book, or chatting on the internet, or cooking dinner, or washing dishes and my mind will wander. I ponder some of the strangest things during these times.

So, last night I was laying on the couch, reading a book and I glanced up at my bookshelf (which I plan on posting pictures of later, just FYI) and saw Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series. I started thinking about the little world she created, and how intricate her website is, and how rabid her fans can be and I started wondering, when do authors go too far with their characters? Or do they at all?

Take SK. If you go check out her site, you'll see profiles for each of her characters, journal entries from Ash, live chats with the characters. If you check out her Yahoo!Spoilers Group, on any given day, you'll see no less than 15 different speculations about what's to come and who belongs with who and what character is really what and so on and so forth. And I started wondering, has she taken her characters so far that people honestly believe their real?

With the amount of not-so-balanced people in the world, it seems highly unlikely that not one person has fancied themself a Dark Hunter, or a Squire or...whatever. I've seen Rabid Fangirls lash out at other readers for stating an unflattering opinion of the stories or characters and I even watched someone get banned from the Spoilers Group because she had the nerve to state - in an open thread *gasp* - that the books were just fiction and so why did it matter.

Now, I'm not trying to start up a big bad fight with SK or anything. I'm just using her as an example, you understand. But did she take it too far? Creating her own little world was one thing, but was it too much that she then created her site and had live chats with FICTIONAL characters and etc.?

She's not the only one, of course. J.R. Ward has something similar going on with her site and Message Boards. Personally, I like the idea. I think it's fun. But interviews with characters? Is that too much? What about the Harry Potter Crazy? Do you suppose J.K. Rowling intended for little girls to threaten to kill themselves if Harry Potter dies in the last book? Do you think, creating a Hogwarts online and Muggle webites and etc has taken it too far?


So, I'm asking, Dear Readers, how much is too much? Are the Rabid Fans solely responsible, or did the authors go too far?

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Story Of Five Friends...

...picked to write in a blog and have their reading adventures taped in the real world, where reviews stop being polite and start being REAL. (Real NICE, compared to some OTHER people...sheesh)

LOL.

Everyone has a story and we're no different.

Since we've been blogging together for going on 7 months now, we here at Sanctuary's Finest thought it was about time that we shared our story with our readers. So, we're going to take a trip down memory lane and share the events that happened between us five friends that led us to where we are today....here at Sanctuary's Finest.

You see, it all started on a cold, dark and dreary December afternoon. I (Dylan) had been posting at my favorite author at the time's bulletin board for a few weeks and while I was friendly with everyone, I didn't really have a set friend of the people that posted on the bulletin board. I remember I was super busy during the day so by the time I got around to checking the bulletin board, it was already late afternoon and the party hoppin' post was a quiz. A Vampire quiz. I went in and saw that everyone was having a good time and because I couldn't be left out, I took the quiz and to my surprise found out I was a Vampire Ho....as were everyone else from California. It was then that friendships sparked up between all of the women from California on the board. As time grew, we all started growing closer and closer, I remember meeting Isabel through this set of women and becoming really close with her through chats and emails and of course, through the board.

So many memories come to mind when I think back to where we met, how we met and the conversations Izzy and I used to have on MSN, that girl is a straight up crack head....which is why we got along so well because I'm a crackhead too! I remember when I got the email about Izzy going on a blind date with her now husband, Joey. Oh gosh that was a memorable email, all of us hoey women were very vocal about Izzy wearing her CFM boots. That's Come Fuck Me boots for those who don't know. Joey still thanks us for those til this day. hehe. I remember when our Gracie girl was still in HIGH SCHOOL and now she's a big bad Uni girl now. We've been friends for the past 4 years now. My how the time flies.

It was through that same board that we met our favorite spawn, Holly. Holly's sense of humor is one that is so catchy that you couldn't help but befriend her. We could joke around all day and never run out of things to laugh about. This is one girl that is quick to jump in her car to meet a new friend and the first time Holly drove out to L.A. to see me, I was so excited. We did absolutely NOTHING but gosh it was so much fun. You would have thought that meeting someone you've met online would have slowed us down in our enthusiasm to meet each other, but it wasn't like that with Holly and myself. When she pulled up in front of my house, I was so darned happy to see her that I was all giddy.

You should know that the first few times, okay so ALL the damn time, we've met up, we hit up the bookstore, that's all we ever did, we spent the majority of our time together in a bookstore. The longer our friendship went on, the longer we spent talking on the phone about every damn thing you could ever think to talk about.

Holly was then initiated into our Cali Hoes crew and along with Holly came....our favorite Jersey girl, Jazz. You see, Jazz and Holly met online at the same boards that we all frequented and she introduced her to us and of course, a new friend was brought into the circle and so much was had between all of us girls. We're nothing but trouble when we're all chatting together, it's horrible.

Since we've met online, Holly and myself have driven out to Izzy's wedding to spend her special day with her, Grace has flown out from Australia, AUSTRALIA ya'll to spend a few weeks juggled between Holly and myself and we have plans to meet up with Jazz this coming fall in Vegas. I have some of the best memories with these four women and I am so blessed to have met them. They make my work days a whole lot better and my phone lines busy.

And I couldn't ask for anything more.

I (Holly) could, but since you aren't offering the lotto jackpot or some Scottish Highlander with ten inches, I'll just move right along with the story...

So, yeah, we all met on an author BB and became very good friends. I was amazed at the warmth and sincerity Izzy and Dylan offered when I met them, and Grace, well, Grace just astounded me. It was crazy. Jazz, well, she's like my evil twin sister, because while I'm outspoken and generally just bitchy, she's five times worse. What's not to love there?

So, anyway, somewhere along the line, in one of our many (I'm not kidding when I say many, either. My Inbox is FLOODED daily...I'm LUCKY to only have 100 emails from these crazy chicky's..IN ONE DAY!) emails, someone mentioned something about reviewing books. I think it's because Izzy had a blog already and she talked me and Dylan into starting one, and then we talked Gracie-girl into it. We do that, you know. Get suckered into doing something and then forcing Gracie-girl to do it, too. We're good like that.

Anyway, we were already reviewing books on our respective personal blogs when someone (I'm pretty sure it was Dylan, cuz she's the instigator of the group, no matter what she says about me) suggested we start a group blog to review books. So we did. In the beginning it was just me, Dee, Izzy and Grace, but we eventually talked Jazz into joining us (and starting her own blog..even though she was a big scardy cat! Aren't you glad now, Jazz?), and she's definitely been a welcome addition here at SF. We're lucky to have her!

Oh whatever, you big fruit cake (now I know you're going to be all confused but it's Dylan again) you know good and well that a Highlander with a ten incher would scare the ever living crap out of you and you wouldn't know what to do with it, because like Jaine Bright said in LH's Mr. Perfect (don't you just love it how we can quote romance novels off the top of our heads?), anything over 8 inches is for show and tell. So don't even try to be claiming any different.

Pfftt (Yep, Holly again), so you say. But I'm all about it. Really. It could work. And back to Dylan...

As for the instigator comment, I do not think so, you know good and well that you are the instigator in most everything (see how accommodating I can be, I'll take my share of the blame in that one), but you missy are the main instigator.

Holly here again. You didn't think I was going to let that slide, did you? I have never been the instigator here. Not one single time. They're the ones who start stuff. I swear. Would this innocent face lie? See, I knew you'd have my back.

So anyway, through numerous phone calls, endless three way phone conversations, hour long chat sessions on MSN and from posting non stop on boards such as our favorite author's bb and our very own board that we started last year, Sanctuary, the five of us girls have gotten extremely close and I must warn you, if you mess with one of us, you mess with ALL of us, but that shouldn't come as a surprise since isn't that the way of things between friends?

So there you have it fellow readers, the story of five strangers picked to be friends in this wonderful cyber world and becoming sisters in the space of a few years...ain't friendship grand?

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Confession Time at SF....and Some News


Hello all. I have a secret...would you like me to share it with you? Well, alright, since you twisted my arm and all...

Guess what? We don't post under our real names. *Le Gasp* Can you believe it? That's right, Dear Readers, you heard it here first. My name is not, in fact, Holly. Dylan isn't Dylan, Grace isn't Grace, Izzy isn't Izzy and Jazz isn't Jazz. Amazing, isn't it (did you note the sarcasm there? Just wanted to be sure).

We just figured, after 7 months of posting, we'd come out of the closet, so to speak. Each of us have a different reason for blogging under an alias. Those reasons are our own and we've decided not to share them, or our real names for that matter. Some of you know, and we ask - humbly - that you keep them to yourselves. Some of you also know our reasons for posting under assumed names, and we ask that you keep those to yourselves as well. It wouldn't be the end of the world if we were outted, but our lives are so much more peaceful like this. Really.

So, there you have it, we've let the cat out of the bag. You're not surprised, are you? LOL

As long as I have your attention..I do, don't I? I would hate to think your mind has already wandered. J/K You know I love you all, right?

As I was saying, since I already have your attention, we're working on a few new things here at SF and we'd like your thoughts and opinions on them.

First of all, we're in the process of lining up some author interviews. Though we love some of our more established authors, we're actually more interested (for the time being) in some of the new, up and coming authors. If you happen to be an author who has just been signed with a Publishing House or whose first novel has just been released and would like to promote yourself here, email us and we'll consider your request. Of course, if you'd like to butter us up for it, we'll humbly accept praise on your website or blog and ARC's. LOL

The lovely and very talented Rene Lyons has already agreed to let us torture interview her, so look for that next week. In the meantime, though, hop over to her blog and give her a shoutout. She's also giving away a copy of her first novel, Midnight Sun, which is scheduled to be released on July 18th from Samhain Publishing. You can enter her contest here.

Second, we're working on some contests ourselves and we'll have some great prizes to give away in the next few months, so be sure to check back with us. Though we're still in the planning stages, we hope to have our first contest ready to roll by the middle of next month. Comments and suggestions are always appreciated. Whether as a comment here on the site or in an email, we're straight.

So, now you know our secret and our upcoming plans. Do you feel special? You totally should, we wouldn't just share these things with anyone, you know.

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The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn

1814 promises to be another eventful season, but not, This Author believes, for Anthony Bridgerton, London's most elusive bachelor, who has shown no indication that he plans to marry. And in all truth, why should he? When it comes to playing the consummate rake, nobody does it better...

-Lady Whistledown's Society Papers, April 1814

But this time the gossip columnists have it wrong. Anthony Bridgerton hasn't just decided to marry, he's even chosen a wife! The only obstacle is his intendeds older sister, Kate Sheffield the most meddlesome woman ever to grace a London ballroom. The spirited schemer is driving Anthony mad with her determination to stop the betrothal, but when he closes his eyes at night, Kate's the woman haunting his increasingly erotic dreams...

Contrary to popular belief, Kate is quite sure that reformed rakes to not make the best husbands and Anthony Bridgerton is the most wicked rogue of them all. Kate's determined to protect her sister but she fears her own heart is vulnerable. And when Anthony's lips touch hers, she's suddenly afraid she might not be able to resist the reprehensible rake herself...


Isabel Says

I forgot to mention in my review of The Duke and I, Lady Whistledown. She's a gossip columnist and unlike other ones, she uses full names. And no one knows who she is, but they love reading her paper. At the beginning of each chapter, you'll see a mention regarding the Bridgertons from Lady Whistledown.

Anthony's father, Edmound, died at the age of 39. He was stung by a bee and was allergic to them. They didn't know it, cause Edmund had been stung before and was fine. Anthony was 18 years old and he was close to his father. When his father died, Anthony took it very hard. He believed that he would also die at the age of 39. So he decides he has to marry. But he doesn't want to marry someone he'll love because he doesn't think it's fair to his future bride. And now Anthony is deathly afraid of bees. So he decides to marry Edwina.

However, Kate has been reading about Anthony in Lady Whistledown's paper. And she doesn't think he'll suit for her sister Edwina at all. She's already made up her mind Anthony is a rake and doesn't like him. Which, I don't think is fair. Cause how can you judge someone you don't really know. But then again 1) We all do that to some degree and 2) I guess it's because I already know Anthony is a great guy. Kate just needs to find out on her own.

Kate also has a fear she carries. Her is of thunder storms. She's deathly afraid of them. So while attending a party and the Bridgerton estate in country, there is a thunder storm. Anthony happens to stumble upon her frightened and alone. He soothes her and stays with her and Kate really starts to see Anthony isn't a bad guy after all.

This book has my favorite scene out of all the Bridgerton books. The pall mall scene. It's so funny and when Kate "wins" the game, it's just too funny. Something my family has done. In fact, we play croquet the same way. hee hee.

Also a good scene is when Newton, the dog, causes havoc in the park. And Kate tells him to shake (as in shake the water off his body) all over Anthony.

Let me set up my favorite quote. You see, Edwina is considered the beauty. Kate is just Kate. So Kate always figured Edwina would marry well. Kate would just settle. No one really notices Kate. So when Anthony tells Kate she's beautiful, she's gets all paranoid, thinking Anthony doesn't mean it. Circumstances happened to make Kate and Anthony marry. So when Kate says Anthony doesn't mean when he says she's beautiful, this is his response.

My favorite quote:




"Listen to me," he said, his voice even and intense, " and listen well, because
I'm going to say this once. I desire you. I burn for you. I can't sleep at night
for wanting you. Even when I didn't like you, I lusted for you. It's the most
maddening, beguiling, damnable thing, but there it is. And if I have to hear one
more word of nonsense from your lips, I'm going to have to tie you to the bloody
bed and have my way with you a hundred different ways until you finally get it
through your silly skull that you are the most beautiful and desirable woman in
England, and if everyone else doesn't see that, then they are bloody fools."
Anthony to Kate.
Damn.

Grade: B

Jazz says:

Well I must say that this book was just okay for me. I mean it definitely kept my attention the entire time but Anthony really irked me. He was such a total jerk to Kate the entire first half of the book, and not just a little but horribly mean. And I do not think he made up for it in the least. There was no grand gesture or anything.

I really liked Kate in this book though. She was strong, never pitied herself, and was so loving to everyone. And when she found out about Anthony's fear she didn't mock him for the stupidity of it she just said it was totally understandable but he was wrong. That it would be okay. She was just great.

I must admit that I am getting more and more curious about who this Lady Whistledown is though. I do have my suspicions but I will keep them to myself till I know for sure. Over all I like the book and my grade would be....

Grade: B-

The Duke and I
The Viscount Who Loved Me
An Offer From A Gentleman
Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
To Sir Phillip, With Love
When He Was Wicked

It's In His Kiss
On the Way to the Wedding

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

Simon Basset, the irresistible Duke of Hastings, has hatched a plan to keep himself free from the town's marriage-minded society mothers. He pretends to be engaged to the lovely Daphne Bridgerton. After all, it isn't as if the brooding rogue has any real plans to marry Although there is something about the alluring Miss Bridgerton that sets Simon's heart beating a bit faster. And as for Daphne, surely the clever debutante will attract some very worthy suitors now that is seems a duke has declared her desirable. But as Daphne waltzes across ballroom after ballroom with Simon, she soon forgets that their courtship is a complete sham. And now she has to do the impossible and keep herself from losing her heart and soul completely to the handsome hell-raiser who has sworn off marriage forever!Simon Basset, the irresistible Duke of Hastings, has hatched a plan to keep himself free from the town's marriage-minded society mothers. He pretends to be engaged to the lovely Daphne Bridgerton. After all, it isn't as if the brooding rogue has any real plans to marry although there is something about the alluring Miss Bridgerton that sets Simon's heart beating a bit faster. And as for Daphne, surely the clever debutante will attract some very worthy suitors now that is seems a duke has declared her desirable. But as Daphne waltzes across ballroom after ballroom with Simon, she soon forgets that their courtship is a complete sham. And now she has to do the impossible and keep herself from losing her heart and soul completely to the handsome hell-raiser who has sworn off marriage forever!

Isabel Says

Just really quick, The Bridgertons are a family of 8 who are named in alphabetical order. Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca,Gregory and Hyacinth. They Bridgertons are a well liked and known family.

The Duke and I is one of my favorite Bridgertons books. I love Simon. Simon was born with a stammer. It took him 4 years to finally speak a word and it comes out in a stammer. His father of course was not happy. He saw Simon as an heir not a son. But Simon worked very hard to master his stammer. As an adult, he learned to think out his words. He only stammered when frustrated or stressed.

Daphne is the oldest daughters and she's in her second year on the marriage mart. She's miserable. No one wants to pursue her. They see her a friend. Nothing more. Which I can kind of relate. She wants to get married and have a family. However, things just aren't going that way. With the exception of Nigel. (great scene with him)

Daphne and Simon meet. They become friends and then Simon comes up with an idea. Pretend to court each other. Simon doesn't have to be chased by mothers wanting to marry their daughters off to him and Daphne will seem desirable to other men. But of course, Daphne starts falling in love with Simon. Simon finds himself drawn to Daphne, but doesn't want to marry her.

I love this book. My favorites are: When Anthony and Simon fall in the lake and when Simon gives Daphne her engagement ring. He's noticed a small ring of green around her pupils, so he gives her an emerald ring to match her eyes. Daphne scolds him about her eyes being brown. She checks the mirror and discovers Simon is right. Awwwwww. I thought that sweet.

My favorite quotes:



"I want to be in your heart. I want-" His entire body shuddered when their skin
touched, "I want to be in soul."




"B-But what-"His face-his strong, handsome face, which was always so firm,
always so in control- crumpled. "What if... if we have a child, a-a-and it comes
out like me?"

Awwww. How can you not love Simon?

Grade: A

Jazz's Take:

Well I finally started the series. Every raves about this series and you know what? I really enjoyed this first book. I loved the simplicity of it. There was no evil villain. No mysterious twist. Just two people that fall in love and have to come to terms with all that entails.

From the start Daphne has a confidence that is to be admired. She is not a heroine to swoon at a rakish remark or smoldering look. She holds her own with her quick wit and knowledge of all things male. Well except when it comes to the bedroom. Having four brothers, three of them older, Daphne is quite refreshing as a heroine. She doesn't even need a knight in shining armor to rescue her she is able and willing to throw down a punch to save herself or get what she needs. And while she did do one thing in the book to really irk me, she scored high on my heroine list. Once she realized she was falling in love with Simon she was determined to have him. Not only to make herself happy, but she was determined she was good enough for him and could save him and that he would love her just as much. She knew her self worth.

From the pain Simon had to deal with at a very young age he found anger the only tool to push him on in life. Anger made him find his words, anger got him into the school he wanted to go to. Anger....at his father. All he ever wanted was to be acknowledged but it was one of the many things his father denied him, to ashamed of him. So Simon was determined to defy his father at every turn of his life. Even when his father was dead. But when Simon realizes how much Daphne means to him and what he will be losing if he doesn't give up his hatred for a dead man he has some hard choices to deal with. Simon was a great hero. I loved everything about him. His speech problems made him more vulnerable to me and his honesty was refreshing. And just reading about his eyes made ME swoon.

I loved all the family interactions. All the Bridgerton siblings were great. Can't remember her name but the youngest girl (H-something) was so cute! Loved the possessiveness of Anthony and how B-something (lol) always backed him up. And Colin? Well I can't wait for his book, I can tell it will be a favorite. And I absolutely love the relationship all the Bridgerton's have with their mother Violet. Such a change from the traditional mother of the ton. She is so caring and warm yet strict and firm when need be. Great family.

If I were to find a fault in this book it would be the reason Simon didn't want children. I won't spoil the book and tell all, but for Simon being such a smart man he was very dumb in that one area.

But overall? Great read, looking forward to the rest of the series.

Grade: B+

The books in this series are:

The Duke and I
The Viscount Who Loved Me
An Offer From A Gentleman
Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
To Sir Phillip, With Love
When He Was Wicked

It's In His Kiss
On the Way to the Wedding

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True Blue by Luanne Rice


Rumer Larkin had loved Zeb Mayhew for as long as she could remember. But when Zeb married Rummer's sister Elizabeth, the couple followed their dreams to Hollywood, leaving a devastated Rumer behind. Now, Zeb has returned, bringing his troubled son Colin with him. Sixteen-year-old Quinn Grayson, whom listeners met in Safe Harbor, befriends Colin and the two teens help Zeb and Rumer open up to each other and overcome past hurts. This mesmerizing, heartfelt story showcases Luanne Rice's considerable talent as she explores sadness, loss, and the power of love to heal.

Ok, did you see in that synopsis where it says Zeb's son's name is Colin? Well, in the version I read, it was Michael. Except in four paragraphs and then she uses Colin. It was very confusing. Just wanted to point that out.

On with the review:

Rumer and Zeb grew up as best friends. They had a paper route together when they were kids, walked along the beach together, swam together, fished together, played together. And as time went on, fell in love with each other. Rumer wanted to be a veterinarian when she grew up, and Zen an astronaut. Rumer said they were connected by a gold thread, from Earth to Sky.

When they were 15, they shared their first kiss. After they went to their respective colleges, they tried several times to lose their virginities to each other, but something always happened to prevent it or they were interrupted. So Zeb called Rumer and asked her to come home for a weekend and he set up a seduction scene, only Rumer never showed.

Stung and feeling rejected, he went to New York a few months later to see Elizabeth's older sister on Broadway and was seduced by her, and then, eventually, married her. Betraying everything Rumer believed in.

But now, 20 years later, Zeb is back in Point Harbor (the small Connecticut coastal town they grew up in) to reconnect with his 17-year-old son and to try and make amends with the one woman he never forgot..and never stopped loving. Only Rumer is no where near ready to forgive and forget, especially because her sister stopped her from seeing her nephew for more than ten years.

In the meantime...

There's a young girl named Quinn who has major issues. Her parents drowned when she was young, orphaning her and her younger sister and leaving her emotionally scarred. She's struggling every day to deal with all of her rioting emotions, and then Michael (Colin? Michael? Colin? Whatever) shows up in town and starts drawing her out and they both fall in love.

I generally enjoy stories like this. I'm not as big a fan of the "One That Got Away" storylines as Grace is, but I do enjoy them. Usually. But I think the sister thing really killed it for me in this case.

Elizabeth, the older sister, is a terrible, meanspirited attention grabber and she went after Zeb only to spite her baby sister. She also kept her son away from his aunt because she hated the fact that while she was drinking her life away her son loved her sister and was happy to spend time with her.

There's a bunch of little sub-plots in this book that I'm not going to get into, but it was kind of all over the place. I think we saw the story from no less than 6 POV's. While I'm all for going back and forth, I felt that was too much.

Anyway, Zeb comes home and Rumer does her best to ignore him, but after a good month of that, Zeb gets irritated and on the advice of Rumer's father, starts perusing her again. I liked Zeb sometimes, but other times his whole "I feel so guilty, I ruined everyone's lives" thing really got on my nerves. I'm sorry, but after awhile wearing a hair shirt and playing the martyr stops making me sympathize with you and makes me think you're an idiot instead.

For her part, Rumer irked, too. She wasn't an idiotic heroine, per se, but she wasn't one of the better ones I've read about either. Though I don't think she took the betrayal thing too far, when the time came, I think - for all of her constant back and forthing - that she gave in too easily. We watch throughout the entire book as she deals with her hurt feelings and her hatred for her sister and Zeb and then BAM, one day she just decides all is well with Zeb and starts sleeping with him. Seemed a little convenient to me.

Then Elizabeth comes back and I hated her even more than I had before. She was jealous and spiteful, despite being more beautiful than Rumer and a major movie star. She treated her own son callously, trying to break up his fledgling relationship with Quinn and buy his affections. I wanted to pull her hair out.

While she's there, she admits that she was the reason Zeb and Rumer didn't make it to their rendevous back in the day and shows the note Zeb had left for Rumer that she'd (Elizabeth) hidden. But instead of being angry or playing the blame game, Rumer forgives her. I think she just did way too much forgiving. I don't like reading about heroines who can't forgive and forget when reparations have been made, but it bothers me just as much when they forgive and forget without any apologies being made, or a grand enough gesture.

Whatever. Rumer was a doormat. Zeb needed a backbone and to toss his hairshirt in the garbage, Elizabeth was a major bitch, but Michael (Colin?) and Quinn were cute. It was worth reading the book just for them.

3.5 out of 5 (the .5 for Quinn and Michael/Colin)

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Hero of the Week: Cal Morrisey

Women the world over want one thing from men. One of many things I'm sure but one thing in particular.

To be accepted and loved for who they really are, both inside and out. Now, let's face it, most guys, especially the hot guys don't really notice the wallflower or the plain jane and they most definitely don't notice the chubby chick sitting across from them checking them out, how often do you hear a really hot guy say, "Holy cow, look at the brain on that girl? That's hot."

Not so often.

You hardly EVER hear of a gorgeous man, falling head over heels in love with a chubby Plain Jane type. It just doesn't happen these days, society these days have brainwashed everyone to think that you're only hot stuff if you're super duper skinny and don't eat for twenty days. If you're not rocking the latest hip threads and dressed and looking like a million bucks, odds are you're not going to get a Justin Timberlake or a Hugh Jackman. It really sucks but that's the way of things these days.

But that's not the case with Cal Morrissey.

When we first meet Cal Morrissey we're furious with him because of what he agrees to do with Minn Dobb but he makes up for that and more when he fell in love with Plain Jane Chubby Minn Dobbs. With everyone that was trying to change Minn to be skinny and NOT herself, it was a refreshing change to see Cal, this gorgeous Greek God trying to make her realize that she was perfect the way she was, plus size and all. He accepted and loved her just the way she was and it made me love Cal Morrissey all the more.

There are plenty of stories where the heroine is not so skinny and the hero falls in love with her anyway. But, usually the heroine goes through a tremendous change in appearance where she goes from a really chubby chick to a really skinny and gorgeous heroine and we're made to believe that the hero loved her for who she really was and not who she became. In Susan Donovan's He Loves Lucy, we know that Theo Redmond, the hero falls in love with Lucy O'Callahan, the heroine while he's helping her lose weight for her job. So yeah, he falls in love with her, but by the time they fall in love, she's not so chubby anymore and I'm not saying that Theo didn't love Lucy any less than Cal loved Minn, I'm just saying that it would have been nice to see Theo fall in love with Lucy BEFORE she lost all of the weight.

The difference between Theo and Cal, is Cal loved Minn just the way she was, Minn didn't have to lose all this weight for him to love her more, she just was who she was and Cal fell in love with that. He was in love with her and loved how she completed him as a man.

One of my favorite scenes in Cal's book, Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie is the scene where Cal goes to meet Minn's family for the first time. You see, Minn's sister is getting married and she has to lose all this weight to please her mother and to fit into the dress that they got a size too small for Minn to get her to lose weight before the wedding. The following scene insues and it just made me love Cal Morrissey all the more.

"Bread?" Min said, shoving the basket under Cal's nose.

"Yes, thank you." Cal took a roll and handed her the basket back. She took one, too, and her mother spoke again.

"Min."

"Right," Min said and put the roll back.

"So you own your own business," George said, skepticism heavy in his voice.

"Yes." Cal frowned down at Min. "Why can't you have a roll?"

"I told you, I have this dress I have to fit into," Min said. "It's all right. I can eat bread again in July."

"Min is Diana's maid of honor next weekend," Nanette said. "We don't want her to get too big for the dress."

"I'm already too big for the dress," Min said.

"You should come," Diana said to Cal, leaning across the table. She hadn't touched the bread, the butter, or her beef, Cal noticed. Her water glass was getting quite a workout, though. "To the wedding. And the rehearsal dinner. Min needs a date."

Before Cal could answer, George said, "Who are some of your clients?" and Nanette said, "How long have you and Min been dating?" and Min tugged on his sleeve. When he looked down at her, she said, "Do you have family?"

"Yes," Cal said, trying to sound noncommittal about it.

"Are they this awful?" Min said.

"Minerva," Nanette said, warning in her voice.

"Well, they do let me eat bread," Cal said, keeping his eye on Nanette. "Other than that, pretty much."

"I beg your pardon?" George said.

"Look, I don't mind you grilling me about what I do for a living," Cal said. "Your daughter's brought me home and that has some significance. And I don't mind your wife asking about my personal life for the same reason. But Min is an amazing woman, and so far during this meal, you've either ignored her or hassled her about some dumb dress. For the record, she is not too big for the dress. The dress is too small for her. She's perfect." Cal buttered a roll and passed it over to Min. "Eat."

Min blinked at him and took the roll.

Cal looked past her to her mother. "I've never been married. I've never been engaged. My last relationship ended about two months ago. I met your daughter three weeks ago." He turned back to Min's father. "The business is in the black and has been for some time. I can give you references if you'd like to check. Should things between Min and me ever grow serious, I can support her."

"Hey, I can support me," Min said, still holding her roll.

"I know," Cal said. "Your dad wants to know that I can. Eat." Min bit into the roll and he looked around the table. "Anything else anybody wants to know?"

Diana held up her hand.

"Yes?" Cal said.

"Are you Min's date for the wedding?"

Min tried to swallow the bite she'd just taken.

"She hasn't asked me." Cal looked down at Min. "Want to go to your sister's wedding with me?"

Min choked on her roll and he pounded her on the back.

"Of course she wants to go with you." Nanette said, smiling for the first time. "We'd be delighted to have you. The rehearsal dinner, too."

"Good," Cal said, feeling progress had been made as Min gasped for air.

You gotta love the way Cal took control of the situation and put everyone's mind at ease at the same time. Cal is a tall, dark and extremely handsome man and he could have any woman in the world, him turning his nose up to all those model types and falling for someone as plain and simple as Minn gives all of us normal girls hope that we too can end up with the boy. Not just any boy or a boy, but the boy. I love it.

Cal wasn't the perfect hero and that worked for me, he had his issues like any normal family but I loved the way he stood up for Min and I loved it when he called her insufferable mother, a dragon of a mother. I just loved it. I loved how he was always on Min's side no matter what, he didn't play with her emotions, he couldn't help falling in love with her and when he came to grips with it, there was no turning back for him, he went after her with all he had, what more could you ask for in a man?

Not much, which is why I have chosen him for this week's Hero of the Week. Here's a picture of this sexy stud.



Until next week...

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Prize by Julie Garwood

Hero: Royce
Heroine: Nicholaa
Grade: B+

In the resplendence of William the Conqueror's London court, the lovely Saxon captive, Nicholaa was forced to choose a husband from the assembled Norman nobles. She chose Royce, a baron warrior whose fierce demeanor could not conceal his chivalrous and tender heart. Resourceful, rebellious and utterly naive, Nicholaa vowed to bend Royce to her will, despite the whirlwind of feelings he aroused in her. Ferocious in battle, seasoned in passion, Royce was surprised by the depth of his emotion whenever he caressed his charming bride.

In a climate of utmost treachery, where Saxons still intrigued against their Norman invaders, Royce and Nicholaa revelled in their precious new love...a fervent bond soon to be disrupted by the call of blood, kin and country!


This has got to be one of my most favorite Julie Garwood novels. There are so many reasons to love this book, from the beginning to the end, there are nothing but great things happening, Julie Garwood has a gift with pulling you into a novel that is rife with drama, but aside from the tug your heart takes for the characters in the book, JG always makes room for laughter and humor.

There's a healthy dose of drama and humor in The Prize.

Nicholaa is determined to keep her home and people safe from the invading Normans and she plots and deceives her way through so many situations which land her deeper and deeper in trouble from her Norman Captors, making her a legend among her people.

Baron Royce, who is a hard warrior is determined to get Nicholaa back to his King as she is going to be the Kings, prize...to be auctioned off basically to one of his knights, to unite the two kingdoms and what not.

The book is filled to the brim with laughter and plot twists that have you guessing what's going to happen next. The sweet moments between Royce and Nicholaa just keep on coming too. You would think that after they get married, their lives would slow down and what not, but that was so not the case with these two. Oh no, there was so much going on for it to be smooth sailing between these guys.

Nicholaa, a good and strong heroine. She doesn't qualify as one of those annoying heroines that always try to save the day, she uses her brain more than she used her brawn to help her people out. When her older brother Thurston left the castle to her so that he could go off and fight in the wars going on, she did her very best to keep her people safe from the many groups of people that tried to come and overtake them. She fought tooth and nail to keep her home and she did a marvelous job of it, I think. She didn't go down without a fight and that was very admirable. She didnt' shy away from lying or commiting whatever sins she needed to keep everyone safe, her safety came last. When she was down and out though, she didn't let that stop her from keeping her dignity, oh no, once she had someone to blame (Royce), oh she made him pay, dearly too....

She made him marry her.

And the story continued on...

Royce, the hero was a truly great Hero. He was all that every girl could ever want in a man, a good strong, honorable man. One that would protect what was his with everything that he was, he was a fair man, one who went to great lengths to help those that needed help. He gave tough love when it was warranted and even though he was a nice guy at heart, he turned into the Devil himself when he was crossed. You don't ever cross Baron Royce. Some of my favorite scenes in this book, Royce played a big part in all of them. Royce was a caring and loyal man, one that was more than worthy of Nicholaa's love.

My favorite character of the story was a secondary character though, it was Nicholaa's brother, Justin. We see the transformation from a scared kitten (for a lack of better description) to a good, upstanding strong man at the end of the book. You see, he goes to war with his brother, Thurston and comes back because he's fatally injured, his hand was actually cut off and so he's only got one hand and because of that, he acts as if his life has ended. With the help of Nicholaa and Royce, his family, he comes out of his self loathing and he turns into this hardened warrior with a golden heart that actually belongs in the world that his sister brought him too. You see, after Nicholaa was taken and married to Royce, she moved in with HIM, her home turned into his home and his people came with it and so because Justin was there, he was pretty much thought of as an Outsider, not fitting in with anyone because he was now staying with them. You see the change in him slowly but the man he turns into is just remarkable.

His transition to life with Royce and Nicholaa, is really what made me love Royce all the more. Royce was determined and persistent where Justin was concerned. He stayed on top of him and made sure that he realized that he no longer had to feel as if he belonged because he did. They were not enemies and even though it took Justin a while to see it, he finally started opening up to Royce and it was only then that Royce started training him on how to be the best fighter, because Justin couldn't be just a good fighter anymore, he had to be the BEST fighter and with the Royce's help, Justin became the best fighter.

A scene toward the end of the book had me tearing up because up until then, you only thought and saw that Justin accepted Royce as a Leader, but in this scene, you realized and knew that Justin not only accepted Royce as a Leader, but as a Brother too. It's my absolute favorite scene in this book.

"Thank you"

Royce did smile then. "You insult me by giving me your gratitude. As your baron I was only doing my duty."

Justin didn't look at Royce but kept his gaze on the center of the field. "I wasn't thanking my baron," he said his voice gruff with emotion, "I was thanking my brother."


That little scene made me love the whole book so much. After everything Justin went through with the amputation of his arm, then the betrayal he must have felt when Thurston left him to die on the battlefield, then being uprooted and thrown into the midst of a bunch of soldiers, Norman soldiers to boot, I thought that scene was utterly endearly and poignant. I'm such a family oriented person having grown up in a big family and this book dealed a lot with family. So much of the book was left open and a lot of the problems were left unsolved, so I'm really hoping that JG will one day go back and write Justin's story (read that as a plea to JG), because I think his story would be such a great story to read. I mean, I'd give my left foot to read the scene where Justin confronts Thurston about leaving him on the field and then I'd really love to read about how everything turns out, I've actually emailed her about just this thing and she has informed me what she's informed everyone else that she's under contract to write contemporaries for the time being but that she hopes to sometime soon go back to writing historicals. I personally think she should have stuck with it since her historicals are so much better than her contemporaries. But that's just me.

There are so many instances in the book where Royce proves just how worthy he is of all things good. When you realize that he's fallen in love with Nicholaa? So sweet. The Black Queen? Too frickin' cute. His taking care of Nicholaa's family? The best. Then the Nicholaa moments are just numerous to count, this book really is a good one. a JG classic. So what are you waiting for? Go out and get it, read it, love it...you know you will.

So yeah, I loved this book. More than any of the books I've read in the past couple of weeks, this book is just all that and then some and I recommend it to those of you guys who want a good book to read on the beach, you'll be thrown into a world of Intrigue and love, you can't go wrong with that.

Please join me in my plea to Julie Garwood, PLEASE WRITE JUSTIN'S STORY. If anyone deserves a happy ending, I think it's Justin.


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