Book Review: Wallflower Most Wanted by Manda Collins

Publication date:January 30, 2018Wallflower

Reviewer:  Andrea

I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

The Summary:

THE PICTURE OF ROMANCE

A dedicated painter, Miss Sophia Hastings is far more concerned with finding the right slant of light than in finding Mr. Right. But when an overheard conversation hints at danger for another local artist, Sophia is determined to get involved. Even if it means accepting help from an impossibly good-looking vicar who insists on joining her investigation—and threatens to capture her heart…

Reverend Lord Benedick Lisle knows that Sophia is no damsel in distress. But he won’t allow her to venture into peril alone, either. . .especially since he finds Sophia’s curious, free-spirited nature so alluring. But protecting her from harm is becoming more difficult than the vicar could have expected as he and Sophia confront their fiery mutual passion. Who could have known that the art of love would prove so irresistible?

Wallflower Most Wanted by Manda Collins is a page-turning Regency romance and part of the Studies in Scandal series.

The review:

In this third installment of the Studies in Scandal series, Sophia Hastings, artist and unapologetic bluestocking, excels in both art theory as well as producing stellar paintings  of her own, works which at times make her the center of controversy. She finds an ardent supporter in Lord Benedict Lisle, second son of the Duke of Pemberton and newly appointed vicar of Little Seaford. When Sophia and Ben are thrown into an art forgery mystery, the two discover much more than the identity of the forgers.

I’m a huge fan of this series, but I wasn’t a huge fan of this one. The concept of a series relaying the trials of four would-be heiresses and celebrating their accomplishments in male-dominated fields is refreshing. These are no damsels in distress. They know their minds and go after what they want. Each has been tasked with a decidedly un-female job, and this novel is no exception, but I wasn’t as entertained by Sophia as I was with the other two heroines. She just didn’t seem to have the depth of Ivy (Book One) and Daphne (Book Two), and the book lacked some of the humor as the first two. She’s an artist with two paintings that are causing a stir in a local art exhibition–that’s about it. Reminders of her extreme beauty became tedious as did the slow pacing of the mystery. By the end, I didn’t really care to discover the forgers because I didn’t feel vested in the search as I had in the first two.

The one truly exceptional part of this novel is the hero. Ben’s role as local vicar created a non typical  character for a romance novel. He had some of the normal traits–handsome and wanted by every girl, check; crazy-rich aristocrat, check; big heart for the socially downtrodden, check. But his concern for propriety and “wait for her to make the first move” attitude were completely different. He was sweet-little too sweet for me. I like a do gooder as much as the next gal, but I just wanted to see him lose his constant cool. I needed more fire, more pizzazz. So while he was definitely different, I’m nonplussed. He seemed too weak to carry the role as hero.

In short, I’ll continue to lie Manda Collins, and I’ll most assuredly be on the lookout for her next novel, but this one was just okay for me.

3 stars

 

Book Review: Wicked Abyss by Kresley Cole

Reviewer: Andreawicked abyss

The Summary:

This fairy tale doesn’t end with a kiss… A spellbinding Immortals After Dark tale from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole!

The terrifying king of hell…

As a boy, Abyssian “Sian” Infernas had his heart shattered by a treacherous fey beauty who died before he could exact vengeance. Millennia later, a curse has transformed him into a demonic monster–just as she’s been reincarnated. Sian captures the delicate but bold female, forcing her back to hell.

Meets his match.

Princess Calliope “Lila” Barbot’s people have hated and feared Abyssian and his alliance of monsters for eons. When the beastly demon imprisons her in his mystical castle, vowing revenge for betrayals she can’t remember, Lila makes her own vow: to bring down the wicked beast for good.

Can two adversaries share one happily-ever-after?

As Calliope turns hell inside out, the all-powerful Sian finds himself defenseless against his feelings for her. In turn, Lila reluctantly responds to the beast’s cleverness and gruff vulnerability. But when truths from a far distant past are revealed, can their tenuous bond withstand ages of deceit, a curse, and a looming supernatural war?

The Review:

Beautiful, bookish girl. Once-handsome man transformed to a monstrous creature.  Enchanted castle with a magic hand mirror. A deal to save the ones she loves. A countdown. Sound familiar? Yeah, I thought so, too.

I’m a big Kresley Cole fan. I’ve read nearly all of the IAD novels, and I mostly love them. This one was a little cheesy. I had no idea it would be a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but I should’ve got a clue when the novel begins in Disney World. The heroine, Lila, works as a princess at WDW, and there are Disney Easter eggs throughout the novel. I have nothing against a good fairytale reworked; in fact, I’ve read a number of them, but I like to know that in advance. It took a few chapters for me to catch on, but then it was completely obvious. I’m not sure if Cole is trying to play off the recent resurgence in the story since Disney’s release of the movie or if she had the idea first. Either way, this novel is definitely a retelling.

Having said that, I did enjoy the read and devoured the book in a day, but don’t be fooled by the fairytale thing–this novel is very mature. Abyssian is the damaged hero with a score to settle, and considering he’s the master of Pandemonia (a hell-like dimension), that damage makes him lethally dangerous in a charming sort of way. Lila is that feisty female that is pretty standard to Cole’s novels. If you love paranormal as I do, you might want to check this one out.

4 Stars

Book Review: Never Trust a Pirate by Valerie Bowman

I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.download

Reviewer: Andrea

The Summary:

The rules of engagement were never so scandalous. . .

A rumored pirate and the scurrilous black sheep of his well-to- do family, Cade Cavendish relishes his world of rebellion, deception, and seduction. Nothing and no one can hold him to be the duty-bound, honorable man he is expected to be. But when an unexpected run-in at his twin brother’s estate with a ravishing, raven-haired maid leads her to believe he’s actually a viscount, Cade’s renegade life is thrown wildly off-kilter. And even though a case of mistaken identity can be quickly set to rights, matters of the heart are quite different…

Miss Danielle LaCrosse is startled to learn that the handsome gentleman who radiates sin and has the devil in his eyes is not her employer the Viscount, but rather his infamous brother. A former heiress, orphaned and left penniless, Danielle has more than a few secrets of her own. Cade may be skilled at coaxing even the most hidden desires out of Danielle but can he earn her trust—and win her heart—as they embark on an adventure to confront a dangerous enemy from both of their pasts . . . and uncover the identity of the so-called Black Fox along the way?

Never Trust a Pirate is part of the Regency-set Playful Brides series by Valerie Bowman.

The Review:

I loved this novel! This is my third Valerie Bowman novel, and it is by far my favorite. I do love a historical romance with a real plot, and this one has it in spades. It’s complex but fun, intriguing and interesting.

The “pirate” aspect may be a bit of a stretch, but that doesn’t deter from the plot. It’s spy against spy against spy in this one. More layers than Grandma’s coconut cake! The proverbial cat-and-mouse game takes from and center since Danielle has been ordered to spy on Cade, the brother of Rafe, a spy for the British government, and Cade, well, his “job” has more machinations than a Bond movie.

The most tantalizing part of the plot comes with the identity of the the Black Fox. You’ll never see this one coming, but you’ll have to read to find the answer!

There were some things that caused me to reread, parts that needed a bit more explanation, like not knowing till late in the novel that Cade was after the nefarious Lafayette Baptiste; however, it won’t detract from enjoying the story. I also was skeptical that Danielle would pass as a boy, especially since she has long hair that she has to shove under a cap. And I couldn’t decide, at first, if I loved or abhorred Cade’s cockiness, but gradually, he definitely grew on me.

Don’t miss out on this one!

5 Stars