Thursday, April 18, 2019

50%


The Austen Playbook (London Celebrities 4) - Lucy V. Parker

Freddy smiled at him, suddenly feeling a little bubble of happiness well up out of nowhere. It was a beautiful day, birds were cheeping, and a man with a majestic nose and the sensitivity of a sledgehammer was frowning at her. For this one moment in time, she had a curious, rare sense of being exactly where she was meant to be.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Buddy Read: Prologue - Ch 4


Indigo - Beverly Jenkins

Ummk, this book is going to take me forever to get through because of the interesting true historical people and events Ms. Jenkins ties in. 

One of the most celebrated escapes of the era had been undertaken in 1846 by the very fair skinned Ellen Craft and her husband, William, both slaves from Georgia. Ellen, after transforming herself into a young male planter, had, with her darker-skinned husband posing as her manservant, ridden trains and steamers on the journey from Georgia to the free soil of Philadelphia.

I did not know about Ellen Craft and her husband William. Is there a movie or documentary anyone can recommend about them? This is fascinating as hell. She posed as young male planter and her husband as her manservant! Brilliant in your face escape. 

The Order originated with the Black conductors in Detroit. The men of the Order were known by various names, one being the African-American Mysteries: Order of the Men of Oppression.

*****

Among the founders of the Order were two of the most successful conductors in Detroit—William Lambert, the leader of Michigan's Black Road network, and George De Baptiste, a Detroit tailor.

I do remember touching on the Men of Oppression and William Lambert is a name that rings a bell. I'm late putting up this update because I had to go and read all about this again and the people. If you follow my reviews at all, you know I've been complaining about lack of historical feel or details in historicals, to say the least, I'm eating this up. 

Ok, to the story,

So I chose love over freedom—possibly the last free choice I will ever make in this life.

Immediately, Jenkins hits you with the emotion and live wires you into the story about the heroine's father and how he sold himself into enslavement to be with her mother. I can't even imagine having to think about making that decision.

To help you in identifying Hester, Frances severed the tip of the little finger of her left hand the day she was born in anticipation of this tragedy.

I've read a couple other Jenkins' books, newer ones, and those had seemingly innocuous bomb drops in them too. Knowing, knowing, there was a good chance your child could be ripped away from you and coming up with a plan for it, kills in the feelings. 

"Do you think you can eat something?" she asked frostily.
"Long as I don't have to pray to get it."
Hester left without a word.

Hester reached down and picked up the cup. In a calm voice she said, "Fine. Don't drink it. I shall simply put it in your food like one would for a stubborn child."
As she headed to the concealed door he growled, "You wouldn't dare."
She turned back. "If only that were true."


Galen and Hester's circling each other banter is what I live for. I'm loving their verbal spars, it is never mean or cruel back and forth but sassy jabbing with some funny wit. LIVE FOR IT. No insta love/lust either, yay!

He'd been lying back with his eyes closed. In response to her words, the one good eye opened and held her. Her heart began to beat so fast, she felt compelled to say something, anything. "Bea says the ointment should be put on three times a day."

"Good, because I was wondering how I might bribe you into agreeing to do it again...later..." His voice was thick; the air filled with tension.
Hester could feel herself becoming warm also. "I have apples to pick in the yard—"

That sassy banter had to go somewhere and I am thrilled it has started to morph into sexual tension/heat. 

He had noticed her hands, however. Indigo. He'd only seen hands stained like hers a few times. He'd be willing to bet she'd been a slave in the Sea Islands of South Carolina where he knew the few existing indigo plantations operated. Working the plants to extract the dye turned the palms and backs of the hands of the slaves permanently indigo.

When Galen called her Indigo and then realized that might hurt or offend her and gave a little apology, I thought it was so brilliant of Ms. Jenkins to write that in for her hero, recognizing it.  



I like how the author has set this in Michigan, it's easy sometimes to set slavery mainly in the south and not acknowledge how the north played a part. Loving the historical details, banter melting into sexual tension, and the mystery, danger feeling of who the traitor could be. 

Hope everyone else in the buddy read is enjoying this as much as I am :)

Reading Update: Page 1


Pretty Face was my favorite contemporary I read last year. Can’t wait to dive into Freddy’s story with some pretty Easter treats! 


(I suggest making your own icing/filling, store bought always taste too rich for me)

Review: Anything But a Duke

Anything But a Duke Anything But a Duke by Christy Carlyle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

2.5 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Second in the Duke's Den series that follows three friends who invest together, Anything But a Duke follows the one without a title, Aidan Iverson. He's been able to rise from a childhood where the mother he can't remember left him and his sister and amassed great wealth. What he can't seem to overcome is the snobbery of the ton and certain doors remain closed to him. He decides that marrying an aristocrats daughter is his gateway to all these doors.

Diana doesn't want to get married and is trying to keep her family afloat by creating an invention that members of the Duke's Den will want to invest in. Her and her mother come to an agreement that if by the end of the month, if her invention doesn't become profitable, she will have to marry. When a chance encounter has her rescuing and kissing a mystery man, who turns out to be one of the investors she's supposed to impress, her world gets shaken.

Diana Ashby drew him. She always had. Her confidence. Her fearlessness. From the moment they’d met.

Aidan's plan to marry an aristocratic, while mercenary, did work as a ploy to achieve what he wanted. For having two friends of that world, a duke and and a marquess, I thought the story thread oddly underutilized them. It is set-up so that Diana, who is not nobility but has friends of that world, gets into a deal with him to try and set him up, while his side of the bargain is to get more investors for her. It worked but was also all a little coerced. There's a second thread underlying the romance one with Aidan searching for information about his birth mother and the sister he hopes escaped an orphanage fire. I thought this was rife for some great emotion but it was pushed to the side too much for me. Even when Aidan gets the answers he was searching for, the reveal fell a bit flat as character relationships in this thread weren't explored and Diana wasn't a huge part of this thread for Aidan to share with her. I did believe in why he fell in love with Diana but again, the emotional moments where he is choosing her over his ambition, fell a bit flat.

Every moment that they shared, every detail they revealed, made her want more.

I also would have liked a bit more of Diana's family relationships explored, especially with her mother or maybe a flashback or two with her father. Her father seemed to be like an absent minded professor, except with inventing. Part of her wanting to succeed was to show her father's pursuits weren't all a waste of time. We get a pretty good feel for her relationship with her twin brother, a seemingly wastrel but sticks up for Diana but her relationship with her mother was fairly blank. We know, because of their money issues, her mother is pressuring her to get married but the mother doesn't really appear on the pages and I missed feeling that aspect of Diana's life. While I believed in why Aidan feel in love with Diana, I didn't believe in it as strongly from Diana's side. He treats her well, the biggest being he embraces her inventor side, and she finds him attractive but I just didn't get see or get a handle on Diana developing feelings for him.

“I remember our deal, Diana.” He slid his hand from hers slowly and there was such disappointment in his gaze that her breath tangled in her throat. Moving past her, he strode toward the room across the hall, but midway he stopped and glanced at her over his shoulder. “Perhaps I’m just not content with the terms anymore.”

As I mentioned, Diana and Aidan's deal, he introduces her to investors to push her vacuum prototype and she introduces him to ladies of the nobility to find a wife and if she doesn't succeed in finding him a wife she must marry him at the end of the month, was a pretty coerced story plot. At the end, there is some angst where I didn't understand at all Diana's reluctance or refusals, that made it feel even more forced. Everyone is likeable and the story is nice but not a lot new here and all pretty sedate. If looking for a quieter, tried and true formula romance, this would be a nice pick. I'll be looking forward to the third in the series coming up where Aidan's roguish marquess friend will be finding love.

View all my reviews

Monday, April 15, 2019

Anything But a Duke: The Duke's Den - Christy Carlyle
Aidan held her gaze as he slid his suit coat from his shoulders, laid it aside, and rolled up his shirtsleeves. “I’m at your service, Miss Ashby.”