“Ripe for Scandal” by Isobel Carr (historical, Grand Central, September 2011, $7.99, 352pp) (2nd book in League of Second Sons’ series): Lady Boudicea “Beau” Vaughn is the youngest daughter of a powerful English duke. She lusts after her brother’s friend Gareth Sandison. The problem is that Gareth is a younger son, one that isn’t supposed to weaken his family’s coffers my marrying. But fate and Beau force his hand with a very public scandal when Beau is kidnapped.
Gareth happens upon Beau after a humiliated and defeated ex-suitor grabs her in order to force her ruination. Realizing that her reputation is beyond repair and that her family will be exasperated by her latest escapade, whether it is her fault or not, Beau convinces Gareth that they should marry. Rather than head home after Beau escapes the kidnapper, the two head for Scotland to elope. Of course, Beau’s family does catch up with them first, endangering their plans.
“Making Waves” by Tawna Fenske (contemporary, Sourcebooks, August 2011, $6.99, 352pp): Looking for an outrageously funny romance with a quirky heroine, hot hero and pirates? Go out and read Tawna Fenske’s debut novel, “Making Waves.” Really, this wacky story is a perfect summer read.
Juli Flynn is the “World’s Smartest Woman.” Sounds great, right? Not so much. Her IQ sets Juli apart from the rest of the world, making it nearly impossible for her to fit in anywhere. When she is tasked with spreading her recently deceased Uncle Frankie’s ashes in the middle of the Caribbean, Juli, in a stupor caused by an allergic reaction to seasickness medication, ends up on the wrong boat and in the middle of a bizarre pirate operation being run by Alex Bradshaw.
“In Bed with the Highlander” by Maya Banks (historical, Ballantine, September 2011, $7.99, 368pp)
I was only a couple of pages into “In Bed with the Highlander” before I knew that I was reading a book that was destined to become one of my all-time favorites. The strange part is that my ARC of it had been sitting around for a while, and I wasn’t sure about whether or not I would read it. Maya Banks has been one of my favorite authors for years, but that opinion was based upon her contemporaries, erotic contemporaries and romantic suspense stories. I was unsure about her switch to historical romance. When a copy of the second book in the trilogy arrived on my doorstop, I went and found my copy of “In Bed with a Highlander” figuring that I needed to give Banks the benefit of the doubt.
“Sweet Kiss of Summer” by Sophie Gunn (contemporary, Grand Central, August 2011, $7.99, 416pp): Reading Sophie Gunn’s “Sweet Kiss of Summer” was a rather odd experience for me. Currently, I have been too busy to read at my normal pace – ok, to be honest, I’ve have little time to read at all. I started Gunn’s book on a Monday and didn’t actually finish it until Sunday. For someone who reads at least one book a day, this is not normal. The length of time it took to read had nothing to do with the book, but with my crazy work week. Unfortunately, it did make my reading experiencing a bit choppy.
Additionally, I made a judgment about “Sweet Kiss of Summer” based upon the cover. The picture and the colors on the cover scream “lighthearted and fun romance.” I expected comical and quirky and was rather surprised by a story with emotional depth and a serious storyline.
“The Ideal Man” by Julie Garwood (romantic suspense, Dutton, August 2011, $26.95, 336pp):
Thursday, 11 August 2011 19:24 Written by Jennifer Porter
“The Many Sins of Lord Cameron” by Jennifer Ashley (historical, Berkley, August 2011, $7.99, 320pp)
Jennifer Ashley continues her Mackenzie brothers’ series with “The Many Sins of Lord Cameron,” the third installment. The story features the crafty Ainsley Douglas, who is at the beck and call of the queen often being called upon to solve difficult problems for the royal, and Cameron Mackenzie, a hardened and bitter rake extraordinaire. We first meet Ainsley when she searches Cameron’s bedroom for an incriminating letter the queen once wrote to a lover, which was stolen by Mrs. Phyllida Chase. Ainsley happened to see Mrs. Chase slip the letter into Cam’s pocket for safekeeping. But Ainsley’s search is interrupted by Cameon, and the sly Mrs. Chase, when the amorous couple seeks Cam’s bedchamber for some privacy.
“Romancing Lady Cecily” by Ashley March (historical, Signet eSpecial, August 2011, $2.99, 15,000 words): Lady Cecily Bishop is just your average London debutante, enjoying her season until her arranged marriage takes place - to a man whose identity is kept secret from her. Her betrothed invested in her father’s business venture in order to gain Cecily as his wife, but demanded she not be told his name. While the unknown man has been pushing back the wedding for the past two years, another man, Baron Sedgwick used that time to seduce our heroine. Ok, so maybe Cecily isn’t really a typical debutante.
Monday, 08 August 2011 20:15 Written by Jennifer Porter
“The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie” by Jennifer Ashley (historical, Berkley, August 2011 (reprint), $7.99, 336pp)
Lord Ian Mackenzie was born different – and no one really understood him. As a child, he had uncontrollable rages, problems with language, and he tended to get distracted easily. When Ian witnessed his father kill his mother, he was immediately confined to an asylum where he was subjected to unspeakable tortures that were disguised as treatments. Fortunately, his older brother was able to free Ian when their father died. Yet, the stigma of madness remained.
Sunday, 07 August 2011 19:45 Written by Jennifer Porter
“Confessions of an Improper Bride” by Jennifer Haymore (historical, Grand Central, August 2011, $7.99, 384pp): Ruined, devastated by the loss of her identical twin sister and facing poverty, Serena Donovan agrees to travel from her home in the West Indies to London posing as her deceased sister Meg and marry the man that Meg loved. But London, the place of her ruination, is the home of Jonathan Dane, now Earl of Stratford, the man who repudiated Serena after being caught in a compromising position with her at a London ball.
A younger Jonathan Dane caved to pressure from his older brother and father regarding the lower-born Serena. However, when told of Serena’s death (Serena’s mother told everyone that it was her ruined daughter who died rather than Meg), Jonathan was devastated and turned to a life of dissipation. When he unexpectedly inherited the title, he swore never to marry and tried to gamble the family's fortune away. But the man Meg loved, Captain Langley, helped pull Jonathan back to the land of the living.
“Linnette, the Lioness” by Lavinia Kent (historical novella, Avon Impulse, July 2011, $1.99, 144pp, ebook)
In the second installment of Lavinia Kent’s The Real Duchesses of London series, Linnette, the Dowager Duchesses of Devonshire, finds herself the focus of several political cartoons. In the cartoons, Linnette is portrayed as pregnant, and the author speculates about the identity of the father. While Linnette is not pregnant, she is currently having an affair with the man that the second cartoon suggests is the father, James, the new Duke of Doveshire. Linnette suspects her friend Elizabeth, the only person who knows about the clandestine affair, is behind the cartoon campaign.