Contrary to how it’s appeared over here at The Raunch Dilettante, Raunchy Ryan has been a busy reader. The problem, though, is that I’ve encountered several books I started but wasn’t able to finish. Mind you, I’m very anal retentive about finishing books. I just…HAVE to stick it out. It was hard for me to put these aside, but really, I had so many books to get to it wasn’t worth the effort of delaying the inevitable. The really kicker of it, though, was that these books were bad. I just couldn’t get into them. Or something about the protagonists rubbed me the wrong way. Thus, I have started a shelf which I’ve termed the Shelf o’ Doom, henceforth known as SOD. These are books that I’ve started but just couldn’t finish, or books I barely made it through. Here are few recent victims to SOD:
Title: Dukes to the Left of me, Princes to the Right
Author: Kiernan Kramer
Redonk Nutshell: Beautiful woman holds out for a prince but is sidelined by a duke
Official Synopsis: Kisses and sparks fly equally fast in this fast-paced romp featuring second Impossible Bachelor Nicholas Staunton and Lady Poppy Smith-Barnes, a member of the Spinsters Club. Poppy won’t marry unless it’s for love, so she fobs off all her suitors with the story that she’s on the verge of an engagement to the fierce and frightening Duke of Drummond, a product of her Cook’s vivid imagination. Or so Poppy thinks, until she’s trapped in an unwanted engagement with Nicholas, the real Duke of Drummond, who’s just as mysterious as his fictitious counterpart and a true danger to even the most fortified Spinster heart.
I just…couldn’t. Poppy is so damn stubborn, yet she just MELTS whenever Nicholas comes around. The WANTON! The back and forth I-want-you-but-I-don’t turned me off. Because that’s really the bulk of the book. I made it about half way through for the sake of finding out more about Nicholas. Even he wasn’t worth it.
Title: The Perfect Scandal
Author: Delilah Marvelle
Redonk Nutshell: Two crazies find sanity in one another
Offical Synopsis: If there is anything Tristan Adam Hargrove, fourth Marquis of Moreland, has learned to avoid, it’s scandal. For the dark and dashing lord is not only an honorable gentleman who would never seduce a woman for his own gain, he is also the author of How to Avoid a Scandal, the infamous red book that has swept like wildfire through the better part of London society. When a raven-haired beauty arrives as his new neighbor, he knows better than to succumb to the desire he feels. He knows little about her—only that she is high born, a protégé of the Crown and completely unsuitable for the base passions he hides from the world. If only he had never glimpsed the vulnerable beauty one fateful night. If only her lips were not so ravishingly red. If only it were not already too late to save her and himself from the untamed passion he is about to unleash in the name of love.
I actually fairly enjoyed this book. I just got bored about half way through. The characters were really interesting, with their own quirks that made them unlike any other hero & heroine I’ve encountered. The formula, however, felt cliche and old.
Title: Miss Wonderful
Author: Loretta Chase
Redonk Nutshell: Spinster desperately tries not to fall for romantic guy
Official Synopsis: Alistair Carsington really, really wishes he didn’t love women quite so much. To escape his worst impulses, he sets out for a place far from civilization: Derbyshire–in winter!–where he hopes to kill two birds with one stone: avoid all temptation, and repay the friend who saved his life on the fields of Waterloo. But this noble aim drops him straight into opposition with Miss Mirabel Oldridge, a woman every bit as intelligent, obstinate, and devious as he—and maddeningly irresistible.
Mirabel Oldridge already has her hands full keeping her brilliant and aggravatingly eccentric father out of trouble. The last thing she needs is a stunningly attractive, oversensitive and overbright aristocrat reminding her she has a heart–not to mention a body he claims is so unstylishly clothed that undressing her is practically a civic duty.
Could the situation be any worse? And why does something that seems so wrong feel so very wonderful?
I actually DID finish this book, but it took some serious doing on my part. I LOVE Loretta Chase. For whatever reason, though, I had a heck of a time getting into this book. This is one of those “lots of talk but not doing” kind of books, and I don’t mean that necessarily in a sexual way. I mean literally there’s a lot of people standing around talking about doing stuff. I could just hear my acting teacher in the back of my head “STOP SHOWING US AND JUST DO IT!” I liked Alistair and Mirabel. In fact, that’s why I stuck it out. The rest was incredibly dull for me.
Title: This Duchess of Mine (Desperate Duchesses #5)
Author: Eloisa James
Redonk Nutshell: Husband and wife attempt to rekindle their marriage
Official Synopsis: No man can resist Jemma’s sensuous allure . . . Except her own husband! Wedding bells celebrating the arranged marriage between the lovely Duchess of Beaumont and her staid, imperturbable duke had scarcely fallen silent when a shocking discovery sent Jemma running from the ducal mansion. For the next nine years she cavorted abroad, creating one delicious scandal after another (if one is to believe the rumors). Elijah, Duke of Beaumont, did believe those rumors. But the handsome duke needs an heir, so he summons his seductive wife home. Jemma laughs at Elijah’s cool eyes and icy heart—but to her secret shock, she doesn’t share his feelings. In fact, she wants the impossible: her husband’s heart at her feet. But what manner of seduction will make a man fall desperately in love . . . with his own wife?
I finished this book, but barely. Okay, I consider Eloisa James one of the authors on my “love there stuff” list. This book is a part of a series, The Desperate Duchesses. I happened to read #4, When The Duke Returns, first. They can all be read as stand alone novels, but the characters cross over. I didn’t realize when I purchased this book that it was in the same series as When The Duke Returns. So when I began to reach This Duchess of Mine I was like…waaaaaiiiiitaminnnnnute. It felt repetitive to me. Again, lots of talking but no doing. It’s dashingly romantic, but I was BOOORED. Gawd, what’s wrong with me!!?!?! I had inadvertently picked up the last Desperate Duchesses book from the library and am returning it without even cracking it. Why? Because, though I can understand the appeal of a series involving the same characters, I myself usually get bored with the typical romance novel formula that series ultimately rely on. Maybe sometime in the future I’ll pick it up again.
That said…here’s the book I actually did finish AND enjoy:
Title: When the Duke Returns (Desperate Duchesses #4)
Author: Eloisa James
Redonk Nutshell: Husband & wife that have never met discover their dazzling chemistry
Official Synopsis: The Duchess of Cosway yearns for a man she has never met . . . her husband. Married by proxy as a child, Lady Isidore has spent years fending off lecherous men in every European court while waiting to meet her husband. She’s determined to accept him, no matter how unattractive the duke turns out to be. When she finally lures Simeon Jermyn back to London, his dark handsomeness puts Isidore’s worst fears to rest—until disaster strikes. The duke demands an annulment. Forsaking his adventuresome past, Simeon has returned to London ready to embrace the life of a proper duke, only to find that his supposed wife is too ravishing, too headstrong, and too sensual to be the docile duchess he has in mind. But Isidore will not give up her claim to the title—or him—without a fight. She will do whatever it takes to capture Simeon’s heart, even if it means sacrificing her virtue. After all, a consummated marriage cannot be annulled. Yet in forcing Simeon into a delicious surrender, will Isidore risk not only her dignity—but her heart?
I thought this book was a lot of fun. The marriage-by-proxy thing was fascinating, and watching these two meet and fall for each other was pretty entertaining. Simeon is a man who prides himself on his self control, and Isidore is the ultimate test, both physically and mentally. She’s stunningly beautiful, as well as bold and stubborn. They grate on each others nerves, and then want to devour each other. It’s wonderful 🙂 Though the book focuses primarily on these two, we also meet several other characters who appear in other Desperate Duchess books. I’m not going to lie – I thought this bit was a distraction. I wanted to know more about Simeon & Isidore. All in all, though, I enjoyed this book.
Rating: C+ Romance: 3/5 Raunch: 3/5