Saturday, March 10, 2012

WEM V: To Wed a Wild Lord and A Lady Never Surrenders by Sabrina Jeffries

Yay, I made it! :) LOL, I usually write the Week-End's Minis post on Saturday  morning... but today I'm a bit short on time because I'm going to the sugar shack with my friends and I'm the driver :) But it's now moot because I did it! :)

I've read a lot this past week, but it's mostly books I want to write a full review for. So instead, I went back to books I've been planning to review and hadn't gotten to it... and came up with the two last books of the Hellions of Halstead Hall series by Sabrina Jeffries :) Enjoy!!

Oh and the poll is back on :) I haven't gotten much feedback about it, so I don't know if you guys like it or not, but the one comment I got was for it... so back it goes :) So don't forget to vote!!

To Wed a Wild Lord by Sabrina Jeffries
published by Simon & Schuster in November 2011
Drowning in guilt over his best friend's death seven years ago, Lord Gabriel Sharpe, the Angel of Death, knows his only hope at redemption is a race against a shocking opponent.

Shrouded in darkness for the past seven years, the infamous racer Lord Gabriel Sharpe is known to accept every challenge to race thrown at him. When his next challenge comes in the form of his late best friend's sister, Virginia Waverly, Gabe is shocked. Yet she presents just the opportunity Gabe needs--marriage to fulfill his grandmother's ultimatum and ensure his inheritance. What he didn't count on was needing her love.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: Hellions of Halstead Hall series, Book #4

What do you need to know? I find the blurb a bit misleading. Among the 5 Sharpes children, Gabriel and his younger sister, Celia, are the ones still unmarried. Gabriel knows that if he remains single, Celia will keep holding out as well in the hopes that their grandmother rescind the ultimatum... and Gabriel doesn't want to be the reason why Celia doesn't marry. As a result, he has decided to take a bride... and has chosen Virginia Waverly, figuring that he owns her because of his part in her brother's death seven years ago. However, she won't hear of the courtship as she is too focused on avenging her brother's honor... Thus, Gabriel agrees to a wager. They will race and if Virginia wins, they will race at Turnham Green, the course that has killed her brother. On the other hand, if Gabriel wins, she'll let him court her.

Why this book? I like Ms Jeffries' writing and have been enjoying this series :) So logic dictated that I pick up To Wed a Wild Lord.

So my thoughts? Overall, I enjoyed To Wed a Wild Lord. I thought the storyline was interesting and engaging. Gabriel definitively had a challenge on his hands, trying to convince Virginia to let him court her and eventually, marry him. The race part was a nice touch to settle things and it fit with the characters :) I also really liked the twist about Virginia's older brother, Roger, death and Gabriel role in it. No wonder he's been so tortured about it and has taken so many risks. Oh and the overall storyarc about the Sharpes' parents murders progressed well.

Unfortunately, I never really warmed up to Virginia in To Wed a Wild Lord and by extension, the romance. I  understand that she idolized her older brother and that her grandfather's hatred for Gabriel only added fuel to it... but one part of me thought she was too hung up on it and the other part of me thought she forgot about it a bit too fast when she fell in love with Gabriel. I know, very contradictory of me ^_^; But it seemed such an obsession... and once she fell for Gabriel, she was determined to find out who had instigated the race, so she could be with Gabriel without guild. I felt it was such a conditional love. Could she be with him, would she have married Gabriel if the answer hadn't been the one she hoped for?

I thought the fact that Virginia was Roger's sister was too much baggage for the book. That's the only things I would have changed in To Wed a Wild Lord.

My Grade? B-.

A Lady Never Surrenders by Sabrina Jeffries
published by Simon & Schuster in January 2012

When the youngest Sharpe sister hatches a plan to gain marriage offers, the straight-laced Bow Street Runner Jackson Pinter knows he'll do whatever it takes to ruin her scheme...

With two months left to find a husband to fulfill her grandmother’s ultimatum, Lady Celia Sharpe sets her sights on three eligible bachelors. Becoming betrothed to one of these wealthy, high-ranking men will surely prove her capable of getting married, so hopefully the wedding itself won’t be necessary for Celia and her siblings to receive their inheritance. Step two of her audacious plan is hiring the dangerously compelling Bow Street Runner Jackson Pinter to investigate the three men she’s chosen. But with Lady Celia bedeviling Jackson’s days and nights, the last thing he wants is to help her find a husband. And when she recalls shadowed memories that lead his investigation into her parents’ mysterious deaths in a new direction—putting her in danger—Jackson realizes the only man he wants Celia to marry is himself!
Genre: Historical romance
Series: Hellions in Halstead Hall series, Book #5

What do you need to know? Now, Lady Celia is the only one left unmarried and she wants to remain so, for now. Therefore she has hatched a plan: she only needs to get one of three eligible bachelors - a duke, an earl and a baron - she has set her caps to propose. Once her grandmother see Celia is able to secure a husband if she desires to, she will change her mind about the ultimatum.

Thus, she asks Pinter to investigate her marriage prospects. Pinter and Celia are attracted to each other, but neither will admit it. Plus they believe they have profound disdain for each other, so it doesn't help matter. All Pinter wants is to elucidate the previous marquess and machioness' murders. If he does so, Lord Stoneville will support him in his dream of becoming magistrate... and to become a magistrate, he cannot be associate to any scandal.

Why this book? This is the final book of the series :)

So my thoughts? Unfortunately, I never got into A Lady Never Surrenders, but I think it was more a case of me and my mood than the book itself. Still, I think A Lady Never Surrenders was definitively not the best book in the series and was a bit weak considering it was the final installment. One of the reasons is because I felt the book was too predictable. Ms Jeffries has been building up Pinter and Celia's romance since the first book, The Truth about Lord Stoneville. So when the story finally focused on them, some of the excitement was gone and there wasn't that much sparks for me. Plus, Celia never had been one of my favorite characters... she's been rubbing me the wrong way from the start and it didn't get better in A Lady Never Surrenders.

Also, Grandmother Hettie's schemes really got on my nerves in this book :( Her first ultimatum was one thing, but in this book, she didn't do what was best for her granddaughter. She thought she did, but she never really considered what Celia wanted. The worst is that she's done the same mistake with her own daughter... You'd think a woman as smart as Hettie would have figured it out :(

While I didn't like Celia much, I enjoyed getting to know Jackson Pinter more. I guess because he was the new element in the book and Ms Jeffries did a good job as his characterization... Except for his fear of scandal. Sigh, what is it with characters that cannot attach themselves to scandal? Luckily, Pinter wasn't maniac about it. Another aspect of the book I enjoyed was finally finding out the culprit of the murder. Although I have to say, once again, this followed a pattern. In every book, the featured Sharpe sibling would "remember" something from that dreadful party. See what I meant by predictable? In the end though, I thought it was well resolved.

My Grade? After careful consideration and factoring in my mood, A Lady Never Surrenders was a C read for me.