Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Review: Something About You by Julie James

This book falls into my Contemporary Reading Challenge.

I really enjoyed Ms. James previous books, Just the Sexiest Man Alive and Practice Makes Perfect (my review here), so I was pretty sure I was going to like this book too. I was not disappointed.

Something About You is about Cameron Lynde, an Assistant US Attorney who witnesses a clue to a murder, and Jack Pallas, an FBI Special Agent who is assigned to protect her. We learn early on these two have a history: Cameron was in charge of bringing charges against a major criminal and her boss squashed it. Jack had been undercover for two years trying to bring the criminal down but was made and had to come back to real life to prosecute. When Jack learned the DA was not going to prosecute, he blamed Cameron and very publicly insulted her. Now, three years later, they're thrown together for the duration of the murder investigation.

I enjoyed this book - Jack was the perfect Alpha male, all broody and sexy and dangerous yet honorable. Cameron was a good heroine with her smarts, thirst for justice, and sense of humor. The sexual tension in this book was good, they had a few starts and stops that kept me as a reader "frustrated" along with for Cameron, LOL! I liked Cameron's two best friends, Amy and Collin, as well as Jack's partner, Wallace. The villian was well-written - he was sneaky and smart.

There were a few scenes where I thought to myself "Never gonna happen", but all in all it was a fun read; I finished it in a day. I give Something About You 4 stars.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Review: Countess of Scandal by Laurel McKee

I haven't read an historical novel like this in quite some time and don't really know where to begin. There were two interesting storylines going on - Eliza and Will's romance, and Eliza's efforts to help the Irish escape English rule. I have a only general understanding of the history of The Troubles in Ireland; I do not know the specific battles and such. This book takes place during the Irish Rebellion of 1798. I do think it's an interesting subject to work into a Romance novel.

As the book opens, Lady Eliza Blacknall has just escaped her parent's party in County Kildare to meet with her sweetheart, Will Denton. They are childhood friends and sweethearts, although their parents don't approve. As they talk, Eliza suddenly realizes Will is wearing a Red Coat - he's purchased his commission and is now part of an English Regiment! Eliza cannot bear it; although she is Protestant, she considers herself a true Irishwoman and feels like Will has betrayed her and their homes.

We pick back up again seven years later: Eliza is now a young widow living in Dublin. She is very active in the secret societies of the United Irishmen, writing pamphlets and hiding accused sympathisers. Will has come back to Ireland as a Major in the army and is staying in Dublin. Of course they hit it off immediately, and start having nightly trysts in her bedroom after dark. Eliza had been in a loveless marriage, and the things she experiences in the bedroom with Will surprise and delight her. She knows she still loves him, but cannot accept that he is in the English army - it goes against everything she believes in. Will knows he loves Eliza and tries to keep her out of trouble; he knows she's under suspicion for treason and helps her out of a sticky spot a time or two. He wants her to give up her subversive activities and leave Ireland until things settle down.

There were so many tender, sensual scenes between Eliza and Will; it was obvious they were very much in love. Through most of the book, however, I just couldn's see how Ms. McKee was going to be able to reconcile their love for each other against their differing political views. When Will left Dublin my heart broke for both of them. Even when they were reunited it still seemed to be a case of star-crossed lovers.

There were, of course, some dangerous scenes that Will and Eliza had to face together; her family was no longer safe on their land and needed to escape to Dublin. I liked that Eliza was a smart, opinionated heroine but not obnoxious or TSTL. She was very careful in her clandestine involvement with the United Irishmen. When she assisted Will through some dangerous situations later in the book, she took calculated chances and did not rush into things trying to be a hero. Will was a good hero in that he never talked down or humored Eliza, and while he did try to persuade her to give up her involvement in the illegal organization, he did not try to change her political views on the subject.

The ending of the book was a bit abrubt, I don't know that Will's decisions would have been accepted as easily as it appeared to in the book, nor do I think Eliza would have accepted the decision she and Will made together. Her convictions seemed to be too strong to go along with that course of action.

All in all, this was an interesting read. I liked the set-up for the next book, which will feature Eliza's sister Anna. Anna's Book, Duchess of Sin, comes out in December. I give Countess of Scandal 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

(There was a character in the book named Edward Fitzgerald, who was apparently a real historical figure. However, when I first read his name, I read it as Edmund Fitzgerald - and could only think of that gut-wrenching Gordon Lightfoot song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. I know, I know, there's something seriously wrong with me, LOL!)

This book was provided to me by Hatchette Book Group free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Review: Paradise Rules by Beth Kery

This book falls into my Erotica Reading Challenge.
I bought this book because I'd read good reviews, but before I'd read Sweet Restraint. I didn't care too much for Sweet Restraint so this one lingered on my bookshelf for a long time. I decided to read it because I was looking for a contemporary read.
Paradise Rules surprised the hell out of me. It was really good - very, very erotic. I enjoyed it from cover to cover and there were only a few spots where I felt like"really?".
Lana Rodriguez is a famous jazz/blues singer who has come to Hawaii to hang out with her friend, who's going through an ugly divordce. Lana spent her childhood in Hawaii (we don't learn all the particulars until near the end of the book, needless to say she has a secret) and isn't thrilled about being there but wants her friend to have a good time.
Jace Koa is a local celebrity, an olympic swimmer/surfer who's come home to Hawaii and runs a surf shop and a restaurant. He first runs into Lana and her friend at his surf shop while he was getting a hand job from a client. Lana was not pleased as he was supposed to be teaching them how to surf.
Later, she hires a male escort for her friend and ends up getting one for herself too. Little does she know Jace's cousin runs the escort service and when Jace hears she's hired their services he steps in to be her "date". Hot sex ensues. Hot, angry sex. Oh, my....
The first half or more of this book is Lana and Jace's relationship, which consists mostly of sex - on a beach, on a boat, next to the boat.... Both Lana and Jace were very strong characters, so there was a lot of pushing back and forth between the two of them. Lana was kind of a bitch, and I did sort of wonder what Jace saw in her that kept him coming back, but let's be honest, I wasn't too worried about it - Ms. Kery knows her way around a sex scene!
There did turn out to be a scandal involving Lana and Jace, and Jace tries to figure out who's responsible while Lana is angry and blaming Jace. I knew who the culprit was but Jace was so sweet while he figured it out. I did wish Ms. Kery had gone into more detail at the end of the book; I kind of felt like it was too open ended, but that's just my preference.
I really enjoyed this book and I give Paradise Rules 4 out of 5 stars. A super sexy read!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More Fictional Couple Songs...

Previously, I'd posted about some songs that remind me of fictional couples. For your entertainment, here's a few more...

Secret by Maroon 5 makes me think of Rhage and Mary from JR Ward's Lover Eternal. I don't know why, maybe because it's just so earnest:

Lux Aeterna (Requiem for a Dream) by Clint Mansell makes me think of Charlotte Featherstone's Anais and Lindsay from Addicted; one of my favorite reads last year (you've got to get to about :30 before you can hear the music):

Yet another JR Ward couple (hmmm...I must be getting excited about my boyfriend John Matthew's book - Lover Mine!!!), this one is Zsadist and Bella - Going the Distance by Cake:

In this case I know exactly why - it's the line where they say "She's all alone in her time of need," which brings to mind the hottest, tenderest images of Z and Bella....*sigh* Really the whole song reminds me of what's going on in Z's head after she leaves. It works!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Review: To Sin With A Scoundrel by Cara Elliott

I like this cover - it's very sexy. He looks pretty hunky and for whatever reason I find the material of her dress eye-catching; I want to touch it.

Lady Ciara Sheffield is having a rough time of things: she was acquitted of her late husband's murder, but society still refers to her as the "Wicked Widow" and "Lady Murder". Her late husand's family continues to accuse her of murder and run her name through the mud in an attempt to get the inheritance left to her son, Perry. Ciara is a scientist, and performs experiments in her home lab, so the rumors of murder persist; there are several snide remarks made during the course of the book regarding the dangers of accepting a drink from her.

Lucas, The Earl of Hadley, "Mad Bad Had-ley" to his friends, is quite the rakehell. He is in the society papers continually with tales of women and drinking and gambling. His uncle Henry, who raised him after the death of his parents, has asked for Lucas' assistance. Henry is a scholar, and he's found an ancient manuscript that he can't translate. He thinks it contains a secret to health, but needs someone to break the codes. He is wheelchair bound and therefore physically unable to go, so he sends Lucas to ask Lady Sheffield if she would be able to assist him in translating the manuscript. There is instant chemistry between them, but she refuses Lucas' request. He approaches her friends, who are also lady scientists, and they work out a compromise: Ciara will translate the manuscript and Lucas will act as if they are engaged; to act as a protector of sorts against the accusations that have been surrounding her.

Their relationship takes off from there - it's fun to watch him try to seduce her while she challenges him to be less of a rake and more of a man. I don't normally like a hero who's got such a scandalous reputation, but I really did like Lucas. I liked watching him go from a devil-may-care to being concerned about Ciara's person and reputation. His interactions with her son Perry are very endearing. Usually I don't like kids in my Romances but Perry was a cute kid and a good showcase for what an honorable guy Lucas had the potential to be.

The secondary characters in this novel were well-rounded. Ciara's circle of friends were interesting and fun. As they discovered more about the manuscript I was pleasantly surprised at the secret it held (although historically inaccurate). Lucas' uncle and friends (well, some of his friends) were likeable and there was also a side story that was very sweet. I hated Ciara's in-laws, they were downright evil.

The events leading to the end of the story were a bit fantastical, but as I enjoyed the rest of the story I went with it. I wanted a HEA for these two and liked how they changed each other in different ways. My only complaint, and it's totally a personal issue, is the use of the word "Lud", as in "Lud, but he was a rake". I don't know why but it annoyed me and it seemed the author used it several times.

I give To Sin With A Scoundrel 3 1/2 stars, I'm looking forward to her next book, To Surrender To A Rogue, coming out in June.

I received this book from Hatchette Book Group free of charge in exchange for an honest revivew.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I think they're fighting but I'm going to pretend they're not...

Is anyone else watching Spartacus on Starz? Oh. My. Gawd. This show is porn with English accents. I don't know if anyone uses this phrase anymore, so I may be showing my age, but this show is exactly the kind of show that spawned the term "Late Show H.O.". Hubs has been watching it but I usually sit in the room and read. I do, however, glance up at the TV from time to time and usually there's either a hot guy in a loincloth or naked chicks or an orgy or all three. Hubs agrees it's very homoerotic. It's a good story, there's all kinds of intrigue and scheming, and some sad bits too, but I have to say all the sex is distracting. (Distracting me from my books, LOL!) And the blood - oh the blood is EVERYWHERE!

Here's the official trailer (watch it - you won't be sorry):

Did you recognize Lucy Lawless? I didn't:

Here's the cast:

Sadly, it was announced earlier this month that Andy Whitfield (Spartacus) has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and filming for season 2 has been postponed while he receives treatment. I'm sending healthy thoughts and wishes for a speedy recovery!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Review: Loves Me, Loves Me Knot by Heidi Betts

This book falls into my New Author Reading Challenge.

I picked up Loves Me, Loves Me Knot because I liked the cover. That guy looks like a tall drink of water and very sexy in his pajamas...and I'm a sucker for a good set of shoulders. Sue me.

The story opens with a woman named Charlotte pushing an old family spinning wheel up into the attic. She's convinced it's magic and brings true love to the person she's thinking about when she weaves the yarn. She's just made some yarn for her neice, Jenna, who's been divorced from her husband Gage over a year ago. Jenna still loves Gage and didn't want a divorce.

Right after we meet Jenna, the story set me off for the rest of the book. Jenna is house-sitting for her aunt Charlotte, and Jenna's two best friends come over for drinks and get drunk. The subject of kids comes up, and Jenna is melancholy because she wanted kids with Gage and can't imagine having kids with anyone else. They hatch a plan to invite him over, add drugs to his beer, and then Jenna will tie him up and have sex with him to try to get pregnant. Now, I know this is supposed to be a lighthearted romance, but I really had a problem with that scenario. If the sexes would have been reversed he'd go to jail for that. I couldn't let that go and it marred my enjoyment of the rest of the book.

Gage is upset when he realizes Jenna tried to get pregnant, as the reason they got divorced was because he didn't want kids and she did. He decides he's got to keep an eye on her until she knows if she's pregnant, so he stays with her while she's house sitting. There are some tense moments, but they do talk about where things went wrong and revisit their relationship, including the reasons why he suddenly decided he didn't want kids after they were already married.

If it wouldn't have been for the involuntary stud service scene I might have enjoyed this book, but to the end I just couldn't get past it. I give Loves Me, Loves Me Knot 2 stars.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Carolyn Crane's Trapped In A Restaurant Meme Game

That post title sounds like Carolyn Crane is trapped in a restaurant. She's not. What she is doing is running a fun meme/contest to celebrate the upcoming release of her book, Mind Games:

1. In MIND GAMES, hypochondriac heroine Justine Jones can’t figure out why tortured mastermind Sterling Packard never sets foot outside the Mongolian Delites restaurant. What if you were somehow trapped in a restaurant, what sort of restaurant would you prefer?

-Middle Eastern (I wouldn't have to cook, would I?)

2. What if you won the fancy $100 dinner to a restaurant of your choice, and you could dine with any character from any book, movie, or history. Who would you choose?

-I know this is where I'm supposed to say Abraham Lincoln, Ghandi, or John F. Kennedy, but really, I'd spend the whole meal thinking "Holy cow, I'm sitting here with Abraham Lincoln, Ghandi, or JFK!!" and not remember a damn thing. For a fun evening out, I'd probably pick my girlcrush, Tina Fey. I think she'd be a good conversationalist and would try to put me at ease and it would be a fun dinner.

3. Choose three characters to dine with for a lively dinner party (you can define lively however you want).

-I would pick all women because I want to have fun and don't want to worry about whether or not I have spinach in my teeth or worry if my bra strap is showing or have to act all ladylike during the meal. I'd pick Jane Jameson from Molly Harper's Nice Girls trilogy because I think she'd be a blast to hang out with. I'd also pick Cat from Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress Series because she seems like fun, (plus maybe Bones would come by at the end of the meal to pick her up *wink*). Lastly, I'd pick Sookie Stackhouse from Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire series because Sookie seems like she'd be a good friend and would be comfortable with the other two guests, both of whom are vampires. Do I think this would be a lively dinner party? Heck yeah - each of these three ladies has trouble follow them wherever they go....add some alcohol and something crazy is bound to happen!

Play and send your meme game link by April 8 to meme@authorcarolyncrane.com to enter. Anyone can play. Details here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Review: Slow Heat by Jill Shalvis

This book falls into my New Author Reading Challenge.

I wasn't sure if I'd like this book, as I'm not a baseball fan (although I do know more about baseball than hockey), but it had gotten great reviews and I was looking for a good contemporary read when this arrived on my doorstep. This is apparently the 2nd book in a series. I did not read the first (I think it's Double Play?)

Samantha McNead (Sam) is a PR whiz who works for a Major League Baseball team, the Santa Barbara Heat. Sam was born into baseball - her father was one of the owners of the team and her uncle was part owner of their sister team. Apparently her brother was also a PR rep but there was a scandal and he was forced to leave.

Wade O'Riley is the team's catcher. He's got a bit of a reputation as a playboy, and there's been a scandal involving a woman with a false claim that she's pregnant with his child. The Heat's Powers That Be have decided Wade needs some good PR and Sam is enlisted to pose as his girlfriend for a month. What they don't know is Sam and Wade had one drunk night together that neither of them has forgotten.

This story was fun. Wade was a easy-going, hungry guy who really seemed to be down-to-earth despite his fame. He was a very likeable hero. Sam was a bit more uptight, but you could tell she genuinely liked her job and cared about all the players. Her reasons for fighting a relationship with Wade were valid, but he sure was pesistent! I enjoyed Sam and Wade's interaction together - lots of sexual tension going on,, but there were some tender spots too that brougth out the "awww". I was frustrated with their misunderstandings about the nature of their relationship but I think that's what it's like in real life, so I got it. There were several laugh out loud moments.

There were a few surprises for the main characters down the line that shook things up a bit; I liked Sam's nephew Tag, but didn't really see the point of Wade's father's storyline. I still don't get why he had to come see Wade - I don't think I'm giving up any big plotlines when I say it was weird he insisted he needed to be with Wade but ended up leaving anyway.

Slow Heat was a fun, sexy read that kept me turning the pages; I really enjoyed it. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: I won this book from Pearl at Quick 'n' Dirty Romance Reviews. Thanks Pearl!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Before I announce the winner, I have to tell you about my morning:

I took my son to work at an Uptown Cafe and was going to stay with my daughters and eat breakfast. Hubs got off work early and called and said he'd meet us there. Okay, nice morning, right? Well, when I pulled up in front of the Cafe, there was a tour bus parked next to it and about 50 guys standing around in kilts there to have breakfast before the St. Patrick's Parade! I thought I'd died and gone to heaven!!! Why, oh why, didn't I have my camera with me?? Now, none of them were doing cartwheels yet, but of course they hadn't started drinking yet, either. Delicious, absolutely delicious, I tell you!

Anyhoo.....on to the giveaway for Taking Care of Business by Megan Hart & Lauren Dane: I let hubs pull the random winner this time, and Jackie B from Central Texas (jacabur1) is the winner! Please contact me at (pspinney at cox dot net) with your mailing address and I'll get that right out to you!

Thanks to everyone who entered, and have a great weekend!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Last day to enter my Megan Hart/Lauren Dane giveaway!

Just a reminder that today's the last day to enter my giveaway! I'll announce the winner sometime this weekend.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Review: With a Twist by Deirdre Martin

This book falls into my Contemporary Reading Challenge.

This was the first Deirdre Martin book I read, and I wish I'd read it in order with the Hockey books. This is not a hockey story, but it's set in that world and a few of the characters do make brief appearances.

Natalie Bocuse is a young French woman living just outside New York City. Her sister owns a restaurant and Natalie is a waitress there but she wants to be a manager. She loves her sister but moves to the city and to see what opportunities she can find there. One of the regulars at her sister's restaurant, Quinn, offers her a job at his family's Irish pub/restaurant just until she can get a job managing a (preferably French) restaurant. Natalie and Quinn have a very strange relationship - they're friends (sort of) but they live to annoy the crap out of each other. Once Natalie takes the job at the pub, Quinn is delighted he'll be seeing more of her. The problem is, his new editor begins frequenting the pub too - and hitting on Natalie.

Quinn asks her out and they start dating, but his job is quickly becoming the biggest obstable in their relationship. Quinn is one of the city's top reporters, and he is dedicated to getting The Story. Then he sniffs out the story of a lifetime, and he has to decide if he wants Natalie or the Pulitzer Prize.

I enjoyed this book, but both Quinn and Natalie annoyed me to some extent. Natalie was kind of whiny; it seemed like she wanted to be "big time" without doing the work necessary to get there. Quinn was kind of an ass - case in point: He took Natalie to the opera and got a call about a story while he was there. He left her there - no explanation, he just told her he had to leave! But, personality issues aside, it was an intersting story. I give With a Twist 3 out of 5 stars.

The next book in this series, Straight Up, is about Quinn's brother, Liam. I think this book is going to be good - I liked Liam in With a Twist and was hoping for more of him.

Monday, March 8, 2010

An Embarassing Moment, a Non-Apology, and a Random Giveaway

Okay - First up, the Non-Apology: I haven't done many reviews of late. I usually like to keep a few in the can, and at this point I think I have two. No es bueno. I don't know, I just haven't felt like reviewing. I've been tearing through books (I am going to do a "Slacker" review of the Morganville Vamps soon) but have wanted to just read, not review, so that's what I've been doing. I was going to feel bad about it and apologize, but I've noticed quite a few bloggers in the same slump, if you will, of non-blogging. I'm choosing to think of it like catching a cold. Everyone gets it and it will be over soon. In the meantime, I'm just rollin' with it.

Next up - the embarassing moment. You may or may not have noticed on my left sidebar that I'm listening to JR Ward's Dark Lover on audiobook (thanks Hannah!). I was listening to it when I picked up my 16-year-old son from work, I'm at the part where Butch and Wrath go at it over Beth and then Beth leaves with Wrath (near the beginning). So I start the car and the book comes on and it's okay for a minute, then comes this line: "He reached for her before she even sensed he'd moved. She was walking along and then she was in his arms. One of his hands clamped onto the base of her neck. The other pulled her hips tight against him. His erection was a thick rope on her belly." As I hurry and hit the Off button, he looks at me and I look at him, we're both blushing, and he says "Really Mom? Really?" and we burst out laughing. March seems to be full of Parenting Fail for me this year.

And lastly - a random Giveaway. I happen to have a like-new copy of Megan Hart and Lauren Dane's Taking Care of Business. Just leave me a comment telling me you want the book (you must be a follower) by Friday midnight and I'll announce the winner over the weekend. If you don't mention you want the book in your comment you won't be entered. And yes, it's open to everyone.

I don't normally put up family stuff on this blog but...

...these pics were too cute not to post!

I did a bit of Spring Cleaning this weekend, and on Sunday hubs and I took Bridget (kid 2) and Molly (kid 3) to breakfast where Ian (kid 1) works, then hubs took the girls to the Zoo while Ian was at work. I had the whole house to myself to clean (and maybe do a bit of reading? I'll never tell!! If I did it was Danielle's fault!).

Molly is obviously feeling better after her pneumonia (Dr. visit was Saturday, all is well and weather was around 65 yesterday and she only got her feet wet here so this is okay!):

Bridget and Molly climbing up Monkey Hill:

How was your weekend?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Review: Power Play by Deirdre Martin (Last Hockey review, I promise!)

(I hate the cover. Eric is supposed to be blonde, his twin Jason is brunette.)

Okay, okay...I know you're tired of my raving about the hockey books. This is my last one, I promise! It's just that I really liked it. Of all Ms. Martin's NY Blades books I've read, this one and the first one, Body Check, are my favorites.

Monica Geary is a soap opera star at the top of her game. She's on the number one rated soap opera and her character tops the polls month after month. When the producer brings in a chesty young thing who tries to take Monica's spotlight, Monica knows she's got to do something...

Eric Mitchell is the NY Blades' newest player. He is the twin brother of Jason (the hero in Chasing Stanley). When I read Chasing Stanley, I though Eric was kind of a selfish jerk with moments of goodness. Eric was traded fora beloved member of the team, so the fans (and other players) are a bit standoffish. Eric knows he has to do something to impress them...

In the Blades series, the team loves to watch soaps, and Monica's show is their favorite. Eric ends up with a 4-line scene in the soap, and he hits on Monica, who is replused by his cheesy lines. Then, her PR person suggests to Monica that she should consider pretending to date Eric to "get her image back out there". The suggestion is mutually beneficial, as the team is thrilled to meet Monica. Of course, things progress and perhaps things aren't "just for show" anymore. Their twisty road to happiness was fun to read, and the ending was sooo sweet!

This book was great - I loved Eric and Monica. The way their relationship progressed from fake to real, the fears that Eric had about falling in love, Monica's lack of confidence in her acting choices; there were a lot of storylines going on and Ms. Martin kept my attention and made me smile. Eric turned out to be a great hero. As a bonus, I especially loved Monica's friend, Gloria. Her one-line recollections of her life in showbiz made me laugh out loud.

I'm giving this one 4 1/2 of 5 stars.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Review: Rule's Bride by Kat Martin

This book falls into my New Author Reading Challenge.

Rule's Bride is the third book in Ms. Martin's Bride trilogy, I have not read the previous two books, Royal's Bride and Reese's Bride. When the book opens, Rule is employed in a weapons factory in Boston, and his boss calls him into his office and offers him a deal that could change his life. His boss, Howard Griffin, is dying, and he's concerned for the welfare of his 16-year-old daughter, Violet. Howard wants Rule to marry Violet, in name only until she turns 18, at which time he can exercise his husbandly rights. At that time he will also become half owner of Griffin Manufacturing, the company Violet will inherit at her father's death. Rule is hesitant at first but ends up accepting the arrangement.

Fast forward three years, and Rule is a year late coming to claim Violet. He's living back in England, got a well-earned reputation as something of a lady's man, and no one, not even his family, has any inkling that he's married. When Violet shows up on his doorstep he is shocked - not only did he not expect to see her, but he's noticing that she went from a gawky tomboy at age 16 to a knockout at age 19 and he likes what he sees. The problem is, Violet is in love with someone back in Boston, Jeffrey, and she's come to England to ask Rule for an annullment so she can marry Jeffrey. He doesn't want to disolve their marriage, he thinks she's beautiful and he wants her to stay. He convinces her to stay for one month, but she makes it clear she'll not be bedding him.

Things are moving along slowly, when Rule takes Violet to the theatre and a fire erupts. They barely escape with their lives and in the rush of adrenaline and thankfulness to be alive they consumate their marriage. Violet is devastated, she'll have to get a divorce now instead of an annullment, and she's not even sure Jeffrey will still want her after this. Little does she know Jeffrey has a secret: he's in cahoots with a gentleman who wants to buy Violet's company - and use it to arm the Southern States before war in the United States breaks out. Jeffrey knows Violet is anti-slavery but thinks he can change her mind after they're married. When Jeffrey arrives and Violet tells him she's consumated her marriage to Rule, he is disappointed but doesn't give up.

As Rule and Violet are trying to sell their company, there are a few buyers, but Violet makes it clear whomever buys the company may not use it to arm the Southern States. Then one of the buyers is killed and Rule is caught on the scene and thrown in jail. While trying to find the real killer, she discovers children working in horrible conditions and endeavors to save them while also trying to free her husband.

This book really didn't do it for me. The romance was flat and I found it difficult to work up any feelings for Violet or Rule. I was not impressed by the fact that Rule was supposed to go back for Violet after two years but by the time she came to him he was already year late. Then he decides he wants her? His reputation didn't bode well as far as a lasting relationship; he sounds like a serial seducer - he sticks with one lover for awhile and then moves on to the next when he's done. No wonder Violet was paranoid he'd eventually leave her.

I also thought the love triangle was weak - Jeffrey was such a wet noodle. He seemed to be such a pushover and he claimed he loved Violet while working with another man against her to get control of her company.

I did like the angle about the Southern states trying to buy the armament to outfit the Southern States with weapons on the eve of the Civil War, and the lengths some men would go to in order to preserve their way of life. As a whole, though, I found this book could not keep my interest and I give it 2 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: I received this book from NetGalley free of charge in exchange for an honest review.