Saturday, April 07, 2012

WEM IX: The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer Ashley and The Lady's Secret by Joanna Chambers

I hope everyone is enjoying the Easter week-end :) It was so great to have the day off yesterday and still know I had 3 days ahead of me!

I went to see The Hunger Games with some friends and actually enjoyed the movie a lot more than I expected :) The weather was also gorgeous so all in all, I had a great time with friends. Good way to start the long week-end. Now, I'm planning to relax, enjoy some books and watch some curling :) Oh and if I can convince my sister, enjoy some sweets :P

As promised, here is my mini-review of The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer Ashley. I was reminded of how much I liked Cameron and Ainsley :) Also the timing seems perfect since I have The Duke's Perfect Wife in my TBR pile. I also give you The Lady's Secret by Joanna Chambers since it won the poll :)

Enjoy and have a nice week-end!

The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer Ashley
published by Berkley in August 2011
He is a man of simple tastes - and complex pleasures...

Cameron Mackenzie is a man who loves only horses and women - in that order - or so his mistresses say.

Ainsley Douglas is a woman with a strong sense of justice and the desire to help others - even if that means sneaking around a rakish man's bedchamber.

Which is exactly where Cam finds her - six years after he caught her the first time. Only then, she convinced Cam she was seeking a liaison, but couldn't go through with it because of her husband. Now a widow, she's on a mission to retrieve letters that could prove embarrassing to the queen. Cam has no interest in Ainsley's subterfuge, but he vows to finish what they started those many years ago. One game, one kiss at a time, he plans to seduce her. And what starts out as a lusty diversion may break Cam's own rules - and heal the scars of a dark and damaging past...
Genre: Historical romance
Series: The Highland Pleasures series, Book #3

What do you need to know? Ainsley Douglas is one of the Queen's favorites and was sent to the Mackenzie's country party to retrieve a compromising letter which was stolen by another companion of Her Majesty who has fallen from favor. As a result, Ainsley is found by Lord Cameron Mackenzie in his bedchamber, a scene reminiscent of 6 years ago. Back then, Ainsley was trying to help a friend, but it turned out she was manipulated. Six years ago, Ainsley was married and tempted into an affair with Cameron, but could not betray her husband whom she respected and who saved her from scandal. Now a widow, Cameron considers all bets are off and he'll even help her retrieve the letter...

Eventually, Cameron and Ainsley become lovers and for the first time in her life, Ainsley learns what is true passion. However, when Cameron asks her to accompany him to Paris, she is torn between her duty to the Queen, her gratitude to her family and her feelings for Cameron. As for Cameron, he is frightened by his feelings for Ainsley. He also knows that if she agrees to accompany him to Paris, they will have to marry... And given Cameron's first marriage, Cameron has no idea how to be a husband. Actually, he has no idea of what marriage is and panic and fear are in fact understandable.

Why this book? I read and enjoyed The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. One of the character I was the most curious about was Cameron :) I've been looking forward to his book ever since and was glad that it was finally released :)

My thoughts? I actually really enjoyed The Many Sins of Lord Cameron. It was a very good book with great characters, a nice storyline and solid writing. Both Cameron and Ainsley's characters were likable and I loved their romance. I felt their relationship was a lot more than attraction... There was understanding and caring and I loved how Ainsley saw through Cameron's persona. Beneath the brash and strong exterior of Cameron, you have an hero who's been deeply hurt by his first wife - not just emotionally, but physically as well - and it understandably left him scarred. And Ainsley thought him what true love really is. I thought Cameron and Ainsley were perfectly matched. I also thought Ms Ashley did a great job with the sexual tension and the attraction; it was really palpable.

I also liked Ainsley's story, when it came to pursuing happiness. I just felt if someone deserved it, it was Ainsley. Despite her mistake in her youth, she was very considerate of her family, her husband and Her Majesty. However, it really felt like Her Majesty was taking advantage of Ainsley, keeping her so close, stifling the life out of Ainsley.

Something else that I liked about The Many Sins of Lord Cameron was the secondary characters. I liked that we got to see previous characters and that their presences were justified, served a purpose. I also think that Ms Ashley did a great job with Daniel's character, Cameron's son. There's was a strong bond between father and son... and the fact that Daniel wanted to see Cameron settled and happy before he could on with his own life. I find it was rewarding to see. For someone who didn't know how to be a good father and a good husband, Cameron did great by instinct :) All he needed was a bit more confidence in himself and Daniel and Ainsley gave it to him :)

My Grade? B+. I originally graded this book with a B... but writing this review, I realized I really enjoyed The Many Sins of Lord Cameron and it deserved a better grade, because there was little I did not like. Not only did I love the characters, but thought the storyline was refreshing as well :)

The Lady's Secret by Joanna Chambers
published by Carina Press in December 2011

London, 1810

Former actress Georgiana Knight always believed she and her brother were illegitimate—until they learn their parents were married, making them heirs to a great estate. To prove their claim, Georgy needs to find evidence of their union by infiltrating a ton house party as valet to Lord Nathaniel Harland. Though masquerading as a boy is a challenge, it pales in comparison to sharing such intimate quarters with the handsome, beguiling nobleman.

Nathan is also unsettled by Georgy's presence. First intrigued by his unusual valet, he's even more captivated when he discovers Georgy's charade. The desire the marriage-shy earl feels for his enigmatic employee has him hoping for much more than a master-servant relationship...

But will Nathan still want Georgy when he learns who she truly is? Or will their future be destroyed by someone who would do anything to prevent Georgy from uncovering the truth?
Genre: Historical romance
Series: None

What do you need to know? The blurb has it right :) I'm just going to add a few details... If they could find proof of their parents' marriage, Georgiana's brother, Harry, would actually become the new Earl of Dunsmore, instead of their cousin. Georgy and Harry actually suspect that their cousin and his mother know the truth and it is why they had their mother murdered...

Why this book? I picked up this book for several reasons. The first one is that Hilcia really enjoyed this book. The second is that Ms Chambers is actually a long-time romance blogger, Tumperkin, so I wanted to give her my support. And last, but not least, I love stories where heroines pose as men LOL.

My thoughts? I thought The Lady's Secret was a cute read and a good, solid debut novel for Ms Chambers. I enjoyed seeing Georgy masquerading as a man and thought she did a good job :) What made it work was that she had the background for it. Georgy would have been an incredible actress, if it wasn't for stage fright... and so instead of being on stage, she's been working behind the scene on costumes and decors. So she has the acting skills to pull it off, but also know men clothing to become a valet and know how to make herself appear manly through clothes. In that sense, I think it was very well thought by Ms Chambers.

I really enjoyed the first half of the book when Lord Nathaniel didn't know that Georgy was a woman. His growing interest in George, his confusion, the sexual tension between the two were great and fun :) However, I felt that once Lord Nathaniel found out that Georgy was a woman, the story started losing steam. Basically, because we reverted back to a "typical" romance. The excitement and spicing up that were present in the first half were no longer present. Instead, it was about Lord Nathaniel seducing Georgy, Georgy succumbing and
it became predictable.

As for the intrigue, it was also a bit predictable. I mean, we all knew that somehow, Georgy or Harry would find proof. What I don't get is why Georgy's aunt showed her the secret compartment of the tea trolley if she suspected Georgy's identity. It seemed kind of too obvious and easy. Although I have to say, I was glad that their cousin wasn't involved int he plotting... and the twist concerning him was interesting.

My Grade? B-. Overall, The Lady's Secret was an enjoyable read and a good debut novel. I liked Ms Chambers' writing style and would definitively pick her up again, given a good premise :)