Showing posts with label Julia Quinn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Julia Quinn. Show all posts

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review: A Night Like This (Smythe-Smith #2) by Julia Quinn

Julia Quinn has the touch when it comes to penning light, amusing historical romances. A Night Like This, the second book of the Quinn's Smythe-Smith quartet, is just such a romance.

The Smythe-Smith women are excellent fodder for comedy with their infamous musicales and the fact that they are oblivious when it comes to their lack of musical talent, but as we found out in Just Like Heaven, they are also loyal, determined, warm and rather insightful when it matters. The male Smythe-Smiths seem to possess similar characteristics.

Daniel Smythe-Smith, the Earl of Winstead has been through a tough three years running around Europe and dodging Ramsgate's killers, but now he's back in England and so happy to be back home that he even appreciates the cacophony of what passes as his cousins' music at the annual Smythe-Smith musicale. The young earl, however, is stunned by the beauty of the young woman murdering the piano keys. Thankfully, she's not a cousin, but he will find out who this beautiful woman who stopped his heart and knocked out his breath is, and follows as she runs off after the musicale ends.

Anne Wynter is hiding from a dangerous someone in her past, and her hiding place is as governess to the Pleinsworth family's young daughters, the Smythe-Smith cousins, Harriet, Elizabeth and Frances. Anne is asked to replace the eldest Pleinsworth sister Sarah on the night of the infamous Smythe-Smith musicale, and as fate would have it she meets Daniel Smythe-Smith, gets kissed and falls just a tiny bit in love with the charming young earl, whom she knows can never be hers.

Daniel is relentless in his pursuit of Anne. He blackmails Sarah and manipulates his aunt and family so he can spend time with her at his country estate. There, Daniel and Anne spend some of the most beautiful and fun days of their lives together, as they entertain the young Smythe-Smith cousins, spar, kiss, and quickly fall for each other. But Anne knows that her secret past and current position as a governess won’t allow her dream of a relationship between them to become a possibility. A dangerous carriage accident that leaves Anne hurt and Daniel thinking that Ramsgate is again making an attempt on his life, quickly brings this interlude to an end and reality to the forefront.

A Night Like This was such a lovely read, there's no other way to describe it. Daniel is one of those joyful, charming characters, that's tough to dislike, no matter his foibles. I absolutely understood why Anne fell in love with this man. There are fun and romantic moments galore in this book. Yes, lots of amusing moments to lighten up your day. Anne is just as likable. She keeps her secrets well and although she falls hard for Daniel and is truthful about her feelings for him, she also keeps her head and uses common sense. Good for Anne.

I loved the secondary characters in this novel. The Smythe-Smith cousins, Harriet, Elizabeth and Frances provided lots of the confusing-like dialog that made this novel so amusing and also gave it a bit of a young, refreshing touch. But the one secondary character who really got my attention was Hugh Prentiss! I hope, hope, hope that he gets his own romance soon, because he stole every single scene where he appeared. Yes, I fell for Hugh big time people.

Of course there's a big climactic scene where Anne is rescued, although to be fair, she was in the process of rescuing herself when the troops arrived. The climactic scene with the villain and the circumstances behind his reason for persecuting Anne are both over the top, but somehow they fit this Smythe-Smith series -- particularly the rescuing and the troops-to-the-rescue scene. I won't say more since I don't want to spoil it for readers.

I didn't review Just Like Heaven, but can tell you that so far I'm really enjoying this series by Julia Quinn. A Night Like This is just what I expected too, a light, fun, romantic read with lots of great characters. Julia Quinn almost always hits the spot for me with her solid romances, so now I'll look forward to the third book of this fun series.

Category: Historical Romance
Publisher/Release Date: Avon/May 29, 2012
Series: Smythe-Smith Quartet
Grade: B

Visit Julia Quinn here.

Just Like Heaven, #1
A Night Like This, #2

Saturday, April 28, 2012

New Releases: May 2012 + A Peek Ahead

April has been a good month for new releases, at least there were books that interested me, but May is looking excellent on that front too. There are new releases from quite a few of the different genres that I enjoy reading regularly.

Here are a few of them:

A couple of notes before I proceed: On a different post, I highlighted The Promise by Mary Balogh. This book releases on May 1, 2012 and I'm obviously looking forward to reading it! Check out the summary here.

Also releasing on May 15, 2012 is The Heart's History by Lewis DeSimone. I already read and reviewed this book, and as it turned out this was a great read! Check out the review here.


The Last Boyfriend (Inn BoonsBoro #2) by Nora Roberts
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Owen is the organizer of the Montgomery clan, running the family’s construction business with an iron fist—and an even less flexible spreadsheet. And though his brothers bust on his compulsive list-making, the Inn BoonsBoro is about to open right on schedule. The only thing Owen didn’t plan for was Avery McTavish...

Avery’s popular pizza place is right across the street from the inn, giving her a first-hand look at its amazing renovation—and a newfound appreciation for Owen. Since he was her first boyfriend when they were kids, Owen has never been far from Avery’s thoughts. But the attraction she’s feeling for him now is far from innocent.

As Avery and Owen cautiously take their relationship to another level, the opening of the inn gives the whole town of Boonsboro a reason to celebrate. But Owen’s hard work has only begun. Getting Avery to let down her guard is going to take longer than he expected—and so will getting her to realize that her first boyfriend is going to be her last…
The first book of this series wasn't an absolute winner for me, but this is a romance by Nora Roberts and there's no way I'm not reading the second book in this contemporary romance series. I always have high hopes. Besides, I just read and loved The Witness, so why not? 

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
Release Date: May 8, 2012
From Lovecraft to Borges to Gaiman, a century of intrepid literary experimentation has created a corpus of dark and strange stories that transcend all known genre boundaries. Together these stories form The Weird, and its practitioners include some of the greatest names in twentieth and twenty-first century literature.

Exotic and esoteric, The Weird plunges you into dark domains and brings you face to face with surreal monstrosities. You won’t find any elves or wizards here...but you will find the biggest, boldest, and downright most peculiar stories from the last hundred years bound together in the biggest Weird collection ever assembled.

The Weird features 110 stories by an all-star cast, from literary legends to international bestsellers to Booker Prize winners: including William Gibson, George R. R. Martin, Stephen King, Angela Carter, Kelly Link, Franz Kafka, China Miéville, Clive Barker, Haruki Murakami, M. R. James, Neil Gaiman, Mervyn Peake, and Michael Chabon.
Do I have to say anything about wanting to read this book? I love anything that has to do with the weird, and just look at that list of authors! So, what else is there to say? This is a must read for me. :D

Railsea by China Miéville
Release Date: May 15, 2012
On board the moletrain Medes, Sham Yes ap Soorap watches in awe as he witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt: the giant mole bursting from the earth, the harpoonists targeting their prey, the battle resulting in one’s death and the other’s glory. But no matter how spectacular it is, Sham can't shake the sense that there is more to life than traveling the endless rails of the railsea–even if his captain can think only of the hunt for the ivory-coloured mole she’s been chasing since it took her arm all those years ago. When they come across a wrecked train, at first it's a welcome distraction. But what Sham finds in the derelict—a series of pictures hinting at something, somewhere, that should be impossible—leads to considerably more than he'd bargained for. Soon he's hunted on all sides, by pirates, trainsfolk, monsters and salvage-scrabblers. And it might not be just Sham's life that's about to change. It could be the whole of the rail sea.
Talking about the "weird," China Miéville excels at it. He has become a favorite writer after reading only a couple of his books (I still have a few of his earlier works in my TBR).  The thing about this author is that both of the books I've read managed to make it to my "best of" lists, so why would I not pick up his latest release? This story sounds like an earthbound Moby Dick, Miéville style. Let's see what weird, fantastic characters this author creates in this story. I can't wait to find out. :D


Silver Moon by Catherine Lundoff
Release Date: May 20, 2012
Becca Thornton, divorced, middle-aged, and barely out of the closet, discovers that life can still hold some strange surprises, when she discovers that her body is changing; menopause turns her into a werewolf. Apparently she is not the only one, as a number of women in her town of Wolf's Point seem to have had the same experience. As the newest member of the pack, Becca learns her nights are not spent only protecting the town and running through the woods howling at the moon. There are werewolf hunters in town and they've got Becca in their sights.
This is Lundoff's first novel, however she has won various awards for her short stories, including the 2010 Gaylactic Spectrum Award Best Other Work. She's also the editor of various lesbian anthologies. I've never read Ms. Lundoff's work, but the blurb for this book had me at "menopause turns her into a werewolf." LOL! After reading that line, I KNEW this book was going on my list. Ohhh, I just need to know how the author handles this premise. [grin]


A Night Like This (Smythe-Smith #2) by Julia Quinn
Release Date: May 29, 2012
Anne Wynter might not be who she says she is . . .

But she's managing quite well as a governess to three highborn young ladies. Her job can be a challenge—in a single week she finds herself hiding in a closet full of tubas, playing an evil queen in a play that might be a tragedy (or might be a comedy—no one is sure), and tending to the wounds of the oh-so-dashing Earl of Winstead. After years of dodging unwanted advances, he's the first man who has truly tempted her, and it's getting harder and harder to remind herself that a governess has no business flirting with a nobleman.

Daniel Smythe-Smith Might be in mortal danger . . .

But that's not going to stop the young earl from falling in love. And when he spies a mysterious woman at his family's annual musicale, he vows to pursue her, even if that means spending his days with a ten-year-old who thinks she's a unicorn. But Daniel has an enemy, one who has vowed to see him dead. And when Anne is thrown into peril, he will stop at nothing to ensure their happy ending . . .
I read but never reviewed the first book in this series although I enjoyed it. Actually I just noticed that I've never reviewed any of the books that I've read by Julia Quinn. I need to remedy that! I'm not missing this book. I love the infamous Smythe-Smith ladies. They're a hoot!


Here is a look ahead to some future releases I can't wait to read from favorite authors:

Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi - Release Date: June 5, 2012
Scandal Wears Satin (Dressmakers #2) by Loretta Chase - Release Date: June 26, 2012
You Will Meet A Stranger Far From Home by Alex Jeffers - Release Date: July 14, 2012

Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews - Release Date: July 31, 2012
Captain Harding and His Men by Elliott Mackle - Release Date: August 1, 2012
Green Thumb by Tom Cardamone - Release Date: August 2, 2012


There you are, some of the books I can't wait to read! As always I tried to include a little bit of this and a little bit of that since so many different genres and sub-genres interest me. In this case I only highlighted one contemporary romance, so now I'm asking you... what contemporary books are you looking forward to reading in May? What about the other genres, anything that caught your eye?