Continuing on with my trend of catching up on reviews, I present the novella edition! A lot of the books/series I’ve been reading lately have had novellas attached to them, helping me increase my total reads for the year. Even though they’re shorter in length I still believe they deserve to be counted towards my total goal. (Some of them are really freaking good!) So, without further ado….
Violet Winterbottom is a quiet girl. She speaks six languages, but seldom raises her voice. She endured bitter heartbreak in perfect silence. The gentlemen aren’t beating down her door. Until the night of the Spindle Cove Christmas ball, when a mysterious stranger crashes into the ballroom and collapses at Violet’s feet. His coarse attire and near-criminal good looks would put any sensible young lady on her guard. He’s wet, chilled, bleeding, and speaking in an unfamiliar tongue. Only Violet understands him. And she knows he’s not what he seems. She has one night to draw forth the secrets of this dangerously handsome rogue. Is he a smuggler? A fugitive? An enemy spy? She needs answers by sunrise, but her captive would rather seduce than confess. To learn his secrets, Violet must reveal hers—and open herself to adventure, passion, and the unthinkable… Love.
The amazing thing about Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove series are the heroines. At first glance they are a mish-mosh of odd women. They’re shy wallflowers and women interested in science; they’re the women that don’t fit into “normal” society. Dare gives these women a safe place (Spindle Cove) to come into their own, heal from the pain of being outsiders from society, etc. It’s her use of the unusual heroine and their creative backstories that make this series so special. Dare’s superb writing style is also something to note here. This novella runs at an extremely fast pace, but Violet’s story is so enchanting that you don’t mind. I can’t tell you about the hero of the story, as it’ll ruin the surprise, but suffice it to say he’s proof that the cards life deals to us aren’t always what we expect. But, with time and an open mind and heart, we can learn lessons from each instance and grow.
Final thoughts: Add this novella AND this series to your to-read list. (Book one is A Night to Surrender and book two is A Week To Be Wicked)
5 out of 5 Stars
Once Upon A Winter’s Eve by Tessa Dare
Samhain Publishing, Ltd (2011)
eBook: 233 pages
Sensible Clarice Bradford is content in her widowhood. She has a pretty one-room cottage and a lovely little daughter, and the last thing she wants is another husband. Until one fairytale evening when she’s invited to a wedding at a castle…
Scottish gentleman Sir Cameron Leslie is smitten with the shy, English beauty at first sight. He’s fiercely drawn to the very strength and independence that make her unwilling to throw caution to the wind and bestow her heart on a younger man. Though passion flares between them, it will take everything Cameron can muster to reawaken Clarice’s long-forgotten dreams of true love…
Forevermore is part of Lauren Royal’s Jewel Trilogy. The events take place after books one and two (Amethyst and Emerald) but before book three (Amber). Royal, as we’ve come to expect from her, gives us amazingly tortured characters that we can’t help but fall in love with.
Clarice is a woman who was dealt difficult blows in her life. She was married at the tender age of 15 to a man who was almost three times her age. Not only was he much older than her, but you’re lead to believe he was physically and verbally abusive. Years after his death Lord Cainewood (of Emerald) brings her a little girl who is need of a home. Having always wished for children she takes the little girl in, vowing it will be the start to a happier life for herself. It’s been a year since she adopted Mary and her life has never seemed happier. Cameron, on the other hand, has led a sort of charmed life, living in Scotland and caring for his family’s ancestral lands. Until seeing Clarice at his cousin’s wedding he realizes he’s never been in love (how sad!!). Watching him try to win Clarice’s heart and squash her fears with his tenderness and kindness was joyful. His scenes with little Mary were beautiful and made me love him even more!
Final Thoughts: If you haven’t yet added this series to your to-read pile you’re seriously missing out.
4 out of 5 Stars
Forevermore by Lauren Royal
Novelty Books (2012)
Paperback: 185 pages
While Jane Bennet is recuperating at Netherfield Park, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are frequently thrown into each other’s company. Despite initial resistance, the pair find that their first impressions are changing, especially after Lizzy overhears a conversation between Darcy and Charles Bingley using the language of the fan. Darcy and Elizabeth: The Language of the Fan is a short story showing how two people come together through a series of comical miscues.
Those following the blog are well aware of the fact that I’m a huge fan of Simonsen’s writing. She always comes up with new and creative ways to make us fall in love with Darcy and Elizabeth’s story. Having read many Regency novels that employ the use of fans by ladies of respectable status, I’ve been curious about what all the motions of these fans meant. It was really fascinating to have the “rules of the fan” interjected throughout the story as a plot device.
Once Darcy and Elizabeth become “friends”, they get on a conversation about tombstone markers. Elizabeth tells him that Mr. Bennet enjoys walking through cemeteries looking for the most unique ones. Reading the tombstone markers (that Simonsen later told me actually exist) were really funny, and they added a quirky humor to the story.
Final thoughts: Simonsen always leaves me wanting more, and that’s exactly how I felt upon completing The Language of the Fan. Click here for more of my reviews of Simonsen’s books!
4 out of 5 Stars
Darcy and Elizabeth: The Language of the Fan by Mary Lydon Simonsen
Quail Creek Publishing (2011)
eBook: 25 pages
A trained submissive, Eleanor will do whatever her master commands…even spend a week with a stranger. Daniel has been a recluse since his wife’s death, and Eleanor’s lover thinks spending time with her will be therapeutic–especially since Daniel is also a Dom. Despite her defiant streak, Eleanor can’t resist giving in to Daniel’s erotic demands. But while she’ll let him have her body, she’s determined to keep a guard around her heart. Even if Daniel wants to make Eleanor his permanently….
Seven Day Loan is a prequel to Reisz’s The Siren , a prequel that I of course would read AFTER reading The Siren (oh well). The biggest “OMG” moment of The Siren is when you find out what Soren’s profession is. His profession is discussed in Seven Day Loan hence why I suggest reading it after, making the reveal in The Siren more of a surprise.
ANYWAY – Seriously, you must read this. Daniel is heavenly. The time he and Nora spend together is HOT and it definitely helps us get to know Nora just a bit more. She is an enigma of a character, one that I’m anxious to keep learning about.
As expected Reisz’s writing style is exquisite and leaves the reader wanting more. I can’t get enough of her stories and am greatly looking forward to the publication of book two in The Original Sinners series, The Angel, in September. Reisz has a number of sequels to Seven Day Loan, as well as The Siren posted for FREE on her website. Click here to read them!
Final thoughts: Read it. No, seriously. Read it.
5 out of 5 Stars
Seven Day Loan by Tiffany Reisz
eBook: 34 pages
In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Fitzwilliam Darcy learns of the debacle involving Elizabeth Bennet’s sister several months after he was rejected by Elizabeth, and volunteers to help find her sister, of his own accord. But what if Miss Elizabeth had requested Mr. Darcy’s aid in just a few days after the disastrous proposal at Hunsford, and he was still very angry with her refusal? What if he decided to be ungentlemanly, and demanded a very particular reward from her in exchange for his assistance? This steamy, funny Pride and Prejudice what-if short story explores that scenario with wit, emotion and intriguing plot twists that take this perennial favorite to another direction.
Oh man. Where are Austen’s characters that I fell so in love with? Elizabeth? Darcy? Hello? Are you out there? I ask because they were definitely not present in this novella. For example, there was the inclusion of Elizabeth dressing up as a man to follow Darcy, who teaches her how to “scratch” herself like a man. The entire situation was odd and awkward. Not only that, but the storyline with Caroline Bingley and black magic was off the wall.
The back and forth between first person and third person narrative made for choppy and somewhat confusing reading. The actual writing has potential, with the help of some strong editing. I kept wanting to break out my red pen, but that wouldn’t really help on a nook.
Final thoughts: Skip it. Try reading Wilson’s Fire and Cross instead.
1 out of 5 Stars
Bargain With The Devil by Enid Wilson
Lulu Press (2011)
eBook: 73 pages
So, there you have it. The second installment in my “playing catch up” posts. I hope you enjoy reading these blurbs as much as I enjoy writing them! Reading and reviewing these novellas has definitely expanded the variety of my reviews this year. They are fun ways to experience a quick story that is great for those who don’t have the time for a full novel. I definitely recommend that you add some of these to your “to read” piles at home.
As always, happy reading!