Contemporary Romance Review: Anna Grace’s LESSONS FROM THE RANCHER (Teacher Project #1)
Miss Bates Reads Romance » Second Chance Romance
by Miss Bates
1M ago
I should stop bemoaning the dearth of great category romance, but I shall probably continue to bemoan the dearth of great category romance, except when one of Grace’s drops into my Kindle. I am a happy clam and was especially happy when her latest series centres on a group of teachers and her heroine is an English teacher, as is yours truly! Also because she doesn’t only get the romance right, she gets teachers right! Okay, that’s two exclamation marks in one paragraph and the punctuation enthusiasm stops here. Let’s set this baby up for you with the publisher’s description of its goings-on: A ..read more
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Vintage Regency Romance Review: Laura Matthews’s THE VILLAGE SPINSTER
Miss Bates Reads Romance » Second Chance Romance
by Miss Bates
6M ago
I can’t remember which generous soul gifted me a Signet copy of Laura Matthews’s The Village Spinster, but may I send my heart-felt gratitude for the gesture into the universe. THANK YOU! I smiled, nodded, and cheered reading it. It was simply great, as fresh, funny, well-written, and yet with surprising depths as when it came out in 1993: excellent romance continues to be written, but I wish more of it was like this. Nostalgia? Maybe. Likely. But still. I think what totally made the romance was the heroine, the eponymous “village spinster,” Clarissa Driscoll. Here is the original blurb to ori ..read more
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Review: Uzma Jalaluddin’s MUCH ADO ABOUT NADA
Miss Bates Reads Romance » Second Chance Romance
by Miss Bates
8M ago
I enjoyed reading Jalaluddin’s Ayesha At Last, but I could see her neophyte writer flaws throughout. Not quite in control of her material, extraneous scenes, ungainly tone shifts, wobbly characterization, uneven pacing. (Why Hana Khan Carries On languishes in the TBR.) While there were flaws to her latest, Much Ado About Nada, this was also a romance writer in control of her material, with a stronger, more confident sense of who her characters were and where she wanted them to go. Her Muslim setting was as loving to her faith as Ayesha, but bolder in her critique and, at the same time, more bu ..read more
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Review: KJ Charles’s THE SECRET LIVES OF COUNTRY GENTLEMEN (Doomsday #1)
Miss Bates Reads Romance » Second Chance Romance
by Miss Bates
8M ago
I have to start by saying what a fan I am of Will Darling, how much I adore him and enjoyed the first book in his series, Slippery Creatures. Hence, why I was keen to read Charles’s trad-pubbed romance, The Secret Lives of Country Gentleman. Would her unique voice and style be “standardized” for a wider audience, or could Charles retain everything that makes her self-published m/m romance unique? Also, with a selling point of “Bridgerton meets Poldark,” I was doubly intrigued. (I’m still mulling how much I liked this. But let’s consider Secret Lives on its own merit.) The publishers ..read more
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REVIEW: Deanna Raybourn’s KILLERS OF A CERTAIN AGE
Miss Bates Reads Romance » Second Chance Romance
by Miss Bates
8M ago
I’m a Deanna-Raybourn fan-girl and would read her napkin doodles, but I wasn’t sure about Killers of a Certain Age. I do love me older-women-kick-ass heroines and in this case, there are four, but I’ve never been able to stomach making heroes out of assassins, or heroines for that matter; as the narrator quips, “It was the Wild West with no law but natural justice”. Um, no, vigilante justice is problematic whether men or women exact it. In the end, Killers of a Certain Age entertained me, but wasn’t powerful enough to dispel my niggling ugh-assassins conscience. But a premise is a premise ..read more
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I Read Bliss Bennet’s NOT QUITE A MARRIAGE
Miss Bates Reads Romance » Second Chance Romance
by Miss Bates
8M ago
Bliss Bennet’s Not Quite A Marriage, in her new series, The Audacious Ladies of Audley, was everything I would expect from Bennet: carefully researched, with nuanced characters, and a romance that builds slowly but surely towards a satisfying conclusion. I was gleeful with enjoyment for the novel’s first half, with shades of “worthy of Balogh” phrases dancing in my head as I considered what I would write for this post. Unfortunately, the second half wasn’t as marvellous and the reason was that Bennet left her romance to wander in and out of the narrative like a weakly-conceived secondary chara ..read more
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REVIEW: Susanna Kearsley’s THE VANISHED DAYS
Miss Bates Reads Romance » Second Chance Romance
by Miss Bates
8M ago
Reading my umpteenth Kearsley novel, I noticed something in her narrative I hadn’t beforehand: a common emotional trajectory that may be characterized as melancholy mood to joyful conclusion. Because they are the most historical of historical romances, their melancholy comes from Kearsley’s initial presentation of her characters as trapped by history. But she builds their strength, intelligence, and virtue and proves to us how these qualities can sometimes defeat history’s choke-hold. She writes about ordinary people (when considered through the lens of big-name, big-battle, big-power sweep) b ..read more
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REVIEW: Sonali Dev’s RECIPE FOR PERSUASION (The Rajes #2)
Miss Bates Reads Romance » Second Chance Romance
by Miss Bates
8M ago
I admit I was super-pumped to read Dev’s second “Rajes” romance because I adored Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavours. Moreover, though I can never quite come to a conclusion, it’s possible Persuasion, with its older, melancholic hero and heroine and their second-chance-at-love romance, may be my favourite Austen. And Recipe For had that rom-com publisher designation and a compellingly-Bollywood-ish storyline, signature Dev. From the back cover blurb: Chef Ashna Raje desperately needs a new strategy. How else can she save her beloved restaurant and prove to her estranged, overachieving mother ..read more
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