Monthly Archives: August 2019

Review of The Miser of Mayfair, by M. C. Beaton

I borrowed an audio copy of The Miser of Mayfiar, by B. C. Beaton from the local library.

Description from Goodreads:

#67 Clarges Street is unlucky. Rental agent Palmer blackmails butler Rainbird and staff to stay for pittance of wages. From Scotland for the London Season, dazzling orphan Fiona sets her sights on haughty Earl of Harrington, and gives the servants first cut of her gambling winnings, insists she is the sole heir to her father Roderick Sinclair, a miser with a failing heart.

Review:

Honestly just not very good. Nothing is even remotely consistent. It was going for a Georgette Heyer feel, I think, but didn’t manage it. 

The book starts out well enough, with the beautiful Miss Fiona’s introduction. She’s so cow-eyed and dumb you can’t help but assume it’s a sham. And it is. She’s a smart, capable card sharp. (Though we’re never told how she came to these skills.) Then about mid book it all evaporates and she becomes just as stupid as she pretends. But only as long as it assists the plot. Then, she’s suddenly smart, brave and capable again. The villains are cartoonish and the love interest has several unbelievable changes of heart for no apparent reason and goes against social convention without explanation. Also, he almost rapes Fiona, hardly a hero. 

This has a nice new looking cover. So, I borrowed it from the library. But I later learned it was originally written in 1987. Maybe that explains a lot. But even for the late 80s, bad writing is bad writing. To her, credit Lindy Nettleton did as much with the manuscript as a narrator probably could. The narration is just fine. The book is not.

Review of Homecoming by Marian Snowe & Ruby Grandin

I received and Audible code for Homecoming by Marian Snowe and Ruby Grandin.

Description from Goodreads:

Scarlett McKennon’s life in the big city is a big flop. 

Her cupcake bakery went under, her roommate at her expensive apartment left her high and dry, and her girlfriend just reacted to “I love you” with “No thanks.” Her sophisticated metropolitan dream has crumbled all around her, and the only thing left to do is pull up stakes and return to the small town where she grew up. 

What could be worse than limping home in defeat? The minute she steps off the train, Scarlett finds out: her first love, Joan, is waiting there to drive her into town, looking like the picture of sexy confidence. Joan was once a scared, self-conscious girl; now she’s come into her own as a mechanic and soccer coach, and Scarlett can’t help but wonder what might have been. 

Carrying on a secret high-school romance in a conservative town was brutal, and Joan hadn’t been able to take the pressure. She broke Scarlett’s heart in exchange for a “normal” life that was doomed from the beginning. Now that Joan’s divorced, fate keeps putting Scarlett in her path. They may have tried to forget each other, but their chemistry is still undeniable. 

Both women start to wonder if they might be right for each other after all… But is the spark they both feel enough, or will their shared past prove too painful to overcome?

Review:

Not bad, but also not a huge winner for me. I just never felt any spark between the characters. The whole thing kind of hinges on their past. But all we’re really told from the past is about Joan insisting on staying hidden and then breaking up with Scarlet. You don’t get any of the passion. Then, in the present, it’s more of the same until Joan suddenly decides to change. I understood her fears and felt angst, but no passion at all. 

None of this is helped by the writing being heavy on the exposition. We’re told almost everything and shown very little. So, there is always a distance from the characters that keeps them feeling flat…and passionless. 

The writing itself seems fine and Deuchler did a fine job with the narration. But I’d call this a solid middle-of-the-road read.

On a side note, I think this needs a much more hipster cover. The characters make fun of lesbians in flannel, after all; and one is described in retro dresses (needing victory curls) and the other wears two braids and greasy jeans, with boots. The little Mary Sue on the cover doesn’t match the vibe of the book, IMO.

Review of Fix Her Up (Hot & Hammered, #1), by Tessa Bailey

cover of Fix Her UP

I won a paperback copy of Fix Her Up, by Tessa Bailey. But since it’s audiobooks I’ve been mostly listening to lately, I went ahead and borrowed an audio copy from the library.

Description from Goodreads:

After an injury ends Travis Ford’s major league baseball career, he returns home to start over. He just wants to hammer out his frustrations at his new construction gig and forget all about his glory days. But he can’t even walk through town without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there’s Georgie, his buddy’s little sister, who is definitely not a kid anymore.

Georgette Castle has crushed on her older brother’s best friend for years. The grumpy, bear of a man working for her family’s house flipping business is a far cry from the charming sports star she used to know. But a moody scowl doesn’t scare her and Georgie’s determined to show Travis he’s more than a pretty face and a batting average, even if it means putting her feelings aside to be “just friends.”

Travis wants to brood in peace. But the girl he used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman who makes him feel whole again. And he wants her. So damn bad. Except Georgie’s off limits and he knows he can’t give her what she deserves. But she’s becoming the air he breathes and Travis can’t stay away, no matter how hard he tries…

Review:

I fully admit that contemporary romance is not a favored genre for me. I much prefer to have some sci-fi or fantasy mixed in there. But I won this book and wanted to read and review it. And it wasn’t bad for what it is. There were several times in the book I groaned and rolled my eyes—when the main character was supposed to have legitimately forgotten to put a bra on, the oops I guess I can’t wear panties because there aren’t any clean ones (tee-hee), all the “baby girls,” etc. Such things are contrived and ruin a book for me. 

Further, for people who were supposed to have known one another all their lives (even loved, in one case), no one seemed to know one another very well. And while the sex was hot, I had a hard time reconciling all the smutty talk and rough sex with the silly virginal main character. Lastly, it all wrapped up a little to perfectly, with the requisite happy ending of marriage and babies. 

Having said all that, I did think the couple was cute together. I very much appreciated that they communicated. There were no unnecessary miscommunications and, with the exception of the drama to bring about the finale, both characters were able to perceive the obvious and willing to ask and talk about it. That was seriously refreshing. Plus, the banter was fun. A lot of the communication I so appreciated came about in banter, keeping things light. 

All in all, I didn’t love it. But I think I liked it as much as I could. And Charlotte North did a fine job with the narrations.