Before she exits the truck, she places a hand on my thigh. “You’re a cool guy, Anthony. Although there are times when I want to strangle you, I’m glad we’re friends.”
“Good, because I feel exactly the same way.” When she’s gone, though, I sit there staring at the spot on my thigh where she casually rested her hand. That simple act yanked me out of our buddy-buddy moment like I’d been doused with cold water. And I know what that means: There’s trouble ahead.
I did a buddy read for this which can be found here: Madly Buddy Read
My comments, quotes, and thoughts can more fully be found there.
If I had to sum this book up in one word it would be, exhausted. I liked it with its raw, oof, delve into emotions, but also all those emotions of anger, hurt, and pain, exhausted the hell out of me. These were not perfect characters and at times I wanted understanding and forgiveness for teenage actions, still bothering now adults, to play a bigger part.
The romance lacked a bit for me, it moved pretty quick and I just didn't feel the story threads were there to support it.
This was very much about family dynamics, pain, and human connectivity, putting your own wants and desires on people, and secret desires versus what the world/people tell you what kind of and how you should live your life.
She cried happy tears at the end, and Winston speculated whether the jewels the children had kept were valuable enough to save their houses. He’d worried about it, talking diamond and gem markets, as he held her hand all the way through the credits.
Oh Winston, you guarded heart, you.
A line will make my eyes water out of nowhere, only to then immediately lol at a convo exchange between them.
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.
No one, particularly not her late husband, had ever valued her for wits. Oh, but she possessed them.
Starting off the Palace of the Rogues series, Lady Derring Takes a Lover, is a magnificent return to historicals for Long. The first thirty percent of the book was perfection with our heroine Delilah being told by her solicitor that her late husband was in massive debt and eventually winding up going into business with said late husband's mistress. Their Grand Palace on the Thames boarding house becomes the setting for smuggling intrigue and romance.
“Derring never laughed at my jokes. But I laughed at all of his, even though I didn’t find him amusing. He sulked if I didn’t,” Delilah said. “It’s a small but killing thing, isn’t?”
Delilah and the mistress, Angelique, start off very wary of each other but with fantastic telling some truths and learning lessons story writing, Long gives us a female relationship that you will ship hard. This tandem of women from different social levels and impoverished by the same man bonding together was just brilliant. Long played them off each other beautifully, they had their separate strengths and weaknesses but ultimately, their hearts beat for the same reasons. If looking for a immensely satisfying female relationship in your romance, this is it.
“I am the king’s favorite hunting dog.”
Our hero, Captain Tristan Hardy, is all that is strong, contained, and eventually burning. Delilah and Angelique start off with more of the focus and are so strong, that Tristan ended up a little bit to the edges of the spotlight. It takes a little bit before Tristan and Delilah really get going, around 40%, which I know will make some antsy, but while their time seems a bit shortened by how full this first in series book is, they tended to make the most of it. From the first time Tristan sees Delilah, to the mandatory drawing room nights, and finally to the last 10% of their story, they had chemistry. Tristan might not have felt as fully fleshed out as I like, but let me tell you, the man can grovel/make things right with the top tier of romance heroes.
The notion of seducing her made him breathless, because he thought it was both possible and inadvisable for a dozen reasons.
While Delilah is living at and running the boarding house because it was the only thing not repossessed, Tristan arrives there because he is the captain of the blockade. His investigation into a cigar smuggling ring has led him to believe Delilah's husband was involved, along with The Palace of the Rogues, renamed The Grand Palace on the Thames by Delilah and Angelique. I thought the cigar smuggling investigation worked to get these two together but it moved very slowly and tended to feel almost ignored at times, not the strength of the novel. It is obvious the history of the former Palace of the Rogues is going to be the plot thread stringing the series together as we get a couple hints and clues here that will probably add to the building of an eventually completed puzzle (series).
It was nearly as much a collision as a kiss, at first, fierce and hard, as if they were both intent on punishing themselves and each other for wanting this.
Long did a great job interweaving secondary characters to create a full ensemble cast but I did think it took away from time I would have preferred to go to Delilah and Tristan. I loved Tristan's relationship with his Lt., providing a wonderful showing and not telling insight into his personality and character, wouldn't change a thing about Delilah and Angelique's friendship, but a very small secondary romance and some other minor focuses on characters could have been taken out. There is some on fire commentary dealing with women's rights but I did almost cringe at a very close to feeling forced mansplaining moment. There is some definite first in a series fullness happening here but again, Tristan and Delilah's moments are impactful when they have them.
“Oh, now I see. You’re that Captain Hardy.”
The beginning was 5 stars, the middle 3.5ish, and the ending brought it back to 5 stars, for me. All in all, I was highly impressed with this first installment and am dying to read the next in the series, which I think will be about Angelique and a mysterious stranger that arrives late in the story. A brilliant female friendship, a loaded chemistry couple, and an ensemble cast that pulls you into their world, don't miss this one.
Of all the peculiar things that had happened in the last several days, laughing with her late husband’s mistress scarcely a week after his funeral might have been the oddest.
The first chapter of this book was amazingly good, it has been on fire ever since. I've highlighted like 95% of what I've read. I'm in a tornado of giddiness (trying to calm, only at 15%) but, pre-order this.
She went up on her tiptoe to peer over his shoulder, though any goal of accomplishing the height was futile. With the motion, her bosom brushed against his forearms, which were folded over his chest in an effort to keep his heart locked in place. There was no hope in accomplishing the feat now. Epic failure, in that. ‘Oh.’She staggered back as if she’d been burned. Perhaps she had. His blood ran hotter than Hades. ‘Excuse me.’
“Thank you for the lemons,” she said quietly, putting one palm against the cool wood. “Ye’re welcome, lass,” came almost immediately and from very close by. She could imagine him leaning his forehead against the door as she was, their hands touching but for an inch of old oak. The thought made her feel warm, and safe, in the least likely place in the world for her to do so.
I was confused for a lot of this, it felt like chunks of story were missing. Reading other reviews it seems like a novella and the Men of Mercy series should be read before this, as characters and instances pertaining to this story are covered.
Sweet innocent heroine who's blood can act like a cure all serum (????) for the hero and his team's altered DNA issues. Hero and heroine fell in love fast and I'm not sure why. A lot of super soldier stories out there and this didn't really distance itself in any way from the pack, but again, I haven't read the previous books, so I was lost.
I have a couple other books from this author as Kindle Freebies, the writing was technically good enough that I'll see if I can find the start to all of this and get the pertinent facts.
I didn't make my reading goal this and in fact, read the fewest books in a year since 2011. This was due to just life and I think we can all agree that 2018 was a year filled with distractions. I stuck with my themed reading months and am really enjoying how it is helping me whittle down my tbr; random number generator is great at picking books that would otherwise languish on it.
I've still being trying to keep up with Menu Monday, which I realize now it has been about two months since I posted for that, must get back to it.
In personal goals, I finally managed to get a bingo in Halloween Bingo!
I hope you all have enjoyed this month long look back and reminiscing of books I read in 2018. The Romancies started off as a I'm grumpy alternative to GoodReads best books of the year, I couldn't handle how they didn't have a separate contemporary and historical category for romance books. New releases seem to get the most attention and I do see why but I hope seeing some of the hidden gems that make it to my nominees list encourages people to check some older books out. If nothing else, older published books will be easier on your wallet :)
I started The Romance Book Buddy Reading Groupon GoodReads and love how reading with a buddy/ies has me diving deeper, appreciating, and discovering aspects to stories I might not have otherwise. Now that the work of putting the Romanices together is over, I plan on doing some more buddy reading. Hope to see you all in the group!
As always, love chatting, discovering, and reading with you all. I've always said, non-romance readers have no idea of the rebelling going on under those men's naked chest covers. Stories by women, for women, testing, feeling out, thinking, expanding, loving, and challenging our experience. For people who love to say they read everything "but romance", my pity. If people can find nuances and get different value from James Bond, Jack Reacher, and Jack Ryan, then maybe, just maybe, the whole romance genre has some characters with nuances and values too. Read and like what you like but don't yuck other people's yum :)
(This is not a call for people to explain to me how vastly different those three characters or author's writing styles are)
The following are my top ten contemporary and historical books I had the privilege of reading this year.
(In no particular order)
*The books eligible could be published in any year, they simply had to be read by me in 2018.
Clicking on book cover brings you to my review if I wrote one or Goodreads page if I didn't.
A woman judged and put into a box by the world fights to break free and goes up against a grumpy, taciturn man but who reminds her of Gregory Peck from To Kill a Mockingbird, and quite possibly has a wildly softly strong beating heart.
Chemistry, wit, banter, and loving, best contemporary I read this year :)
This was close with An Extraordinary Union but for how this one took me off guard, I read so much historical romance it takes extra umph to surprise and delight me. The chemistry, spark, and interaction between Jemdanee and Mr. Ridley grabbed me and didn't let go. This won't be a story for everyone but ooh boy, will it hit the sweet spot for some.