Recommended Read, Review

Review: The Larks Still Bravely Singing by Aster Glenn Gray (2021)

Heat Factor: Gentle, encouraging, exploratory, emotional

Character Chemistry: They have big hug energy to offer each other, even though they both think they shouldn’t ask for it themselves

Plot: Boarding school besties Robert and David both come out of WWI with scars both physical and mental, and find their way back to themselves with each other

Overall: My heart is so full and so wrecked

Continue reading “Review: The Larks Still Bravely Singing by Aster Glenn Gray (2021)”
Saturday Smutty Six: “All I remember about this book is… (group edition)” with partial covers for Skye O’Malley by Bertrice Small, Potent Pleasures by Eloisa James, Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas, To Catch An Heiress by Julia Quinn, Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught, and The Raider by Jude Deveraux
Listicle

Saturday Smutty Six: All I Remember Redux: Two for One

In honor of our Old School reading this month, we decided to look at our reading archives and see what turned up. Unfortunately, we read these books so long ago, we don’t remember much. Luckily, this week we found some books that at least two of us read, so you’ll have just a little more information. Maybe we can interest you in these books based on what we do remember?

All I remember about this book is…

Skye O’Malley by Bertrice Small

Erin: …Oh. My. God. Holly and I read this book twenty years ago and still remember all the highlights. Skye gets married and then ends up in a harem and then somehow gets back to England but then Niall is married and I have no idea how they manage to finally get married but I think Niall’s sex addict wife dies of the pox?

Holly: …there is so much sex in this book. The bit that stands out to me is Neil’s wife (who looks like Skye) (also, this is probably the only book in which I remember the MCs’ names, including books that I read last week) is a nymphomaniac who can’t get enough luvin’ from her husband so she starts working in a brothel and has a book of sex positions. Men come in, pick a position, and she’ll do them. She and another whore have a sex-off one night. She dies of syphilis. It’s very convenient because now Neil is free to finally marry Skye as husband #4. 

Also the scene where Skye’s amnesia goes away is very striking. Husband number #3 and Neil get in a fight at court and when Neil falls down she remembers *everything.* So much drama!!!!

Also also, Skye’s nails are always buffed to a beautiful pink.

Potent Pleasures by Eloisa James

Erin: …they have an interlude at a masquerade party and are parted for years. When they’re reunited, she remembers him, but he doesn’t recognize her, though they do fall in love and marry. When she says that the wedding night sex is better than before, he gets all ragey that she’s 1) not a virgin and 2) apparently had sex with his twin brother (she didn’t). Also the climactic moment is YIIIIIIKES because even though he said he was over the whole her sleeping with his brother thing (she didn’t and he wasn’t), when he gets home from a trip he finds out she’s pregnant, assumes it can’t possibly be his, and sends her off to the country where she nearly dies. It’s a lot. 

Holly: …I REMEMBER THIS ONE. Just that he gets all ragey, and then finally recognizes her when she appears at a ball in her masquerade outfit from the very beginning and he realizes it was her the whole time because of course he’s really been looking for his mystery whore for years.

Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas

Holly: …I was horrified at how *old* the heroine was (she’s 30). She hires a sex worker for a 30th birthday present to herself. (It seems, from the blurb, that there’s some mistaken identity stuff that happens, but I don’t remember that part.) She was curvy and had red hair so I pictured my high school principal and was horrified and did not enjoy the reading experience. Might like it better if I read it now that I’m not 16 anymore.

Erin: …I read this one, too! All I remember about this one was that she hired herself a delicious man treat because she was so old and things did not at all go the way either of them planned.


The Raider by Jude Deveraux

Ingrid: …he’s real hot at nighttime and during the day he’s disgusting and pompous.

Erin: …the hero returns to town and gets himself out of a pickle by pretending to be fat, stuffing his clothes with pillows, and has to keep up the charade whenever he goes out. The heroine thinks he’s ridiculous and disdains him, but he’s secretly a dashing spy attacking the British. Also something happens at a bucolic lighthouse-y spot at the dramatic climax.

Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught

Holly: …the reading experience stuck out to me more than the actual book. I distinctly remember the chair I was sitting in when I read it (the blue armchair that used to be by the fireplace). My sister got it from her sister-in-law, who was a McNaught superfan. And my reaction was: what even is this utter rapey garbage? The titular Whitney is a doormat and the hero is terrible and leaves her in his country house and then thinks she’s cheating on him but she loves him anyways. 

Erin: …OMG he’s so sexy on the stairs! OMG, she’s so daring standing on the horse! OMG, her dad is terrible. Something about chess. OMG, WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS MAN?! OMG, HOW IS SHE GOING TO FORGIVE HIM? I guess the baby scene at the end was kinda sweet?

Holly: Of course she stands up on her horse. That’s like, bodice ripper heroine behavior rule #23.

To Catch an Heiress by Julia Quinn

Ingrid: …I literally only remember that he thinks she’s a spy with a name that reminded me of Carmen Sandiego.

Holly: …so I’ve read the sequel literally 86 times so I know that it’s about Caroline and Blake Ravenscroft and Caroline collects words. There’s some stuff in a tower.


Have you read any of these books? Do you remember them better than we do? Let us know in the comments!

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Back to Old School, Dueling Review, Rant, Recommended Read

Back to Old School: Devils Week

Devil’s Bride by Stephanie Laurens (1998)

Heat Factor: Devil is going to make the molten heat inside Honoria explode. In a cataclysmic starburst. For 25 pages.

Character Chemistry: You’re my perfect match because our bloodlines make us strong enough to tame each other. But Devil never says “I love you.”

Plot: Murder most foul.

Overall: Erin was tickled. Ingrid powered through. Holly hated it.


versus


Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas (2006)

Heat Factor: Billiards and blow jobs

Character Chemistry: Sebastian is such an asshole, but he’s also so soft for Evie.

Plot: Marriage of convenience, gambling hell edition.

Overall: Erin loved it. Holly tolerated it. Ingrid can’t remember the plot.

Continue reading “Back to Old School: Devils Week”
Listicle

Saturday Smutty Six: Old School Romances We Barely Remember

In honor of our Old School reading this month, we decided to look at our reading archives and see what turned up. Unfortunately, we read these books so long ago, we don’t remember much. Maybe we can interest you in these books based on what we do remember?

All I remember about this book is…

The Secret Pearl by Mary Balogh

Erin: …they meet when, on her first night as a (virgin) prostitute, he hires her and they have extremely uncomfortable sex in the alleyway outside a theater. Then she unexpectedly (but very luckily) gets hired as his governess. Awkwardness and angst ensues. I’m not sure if it was just the beginning, but I recall the overall mood of this one as morose.

The Pleasure Master by Nina Bangs

Holly: …it’s about a woman who gets sent back in time (by a talking toy…monkey?) to some guy who lives in a cave (not sure why) in medieval Scotland. He has sex magic. 

Prince of Dreams by Lisa Kleypas

Erin: …this exiled Russian aristocrat who is somehow related to the heroine of the first book in this duology gets the stink eye from the hero of the first book in this duology because he just knows that he’s somehow fated to be a part of that hero’s daughter’s life. Because what dad doesn’t want to hear that a grown man is fated to be with his not-yet-grown daughter? Anyway, then there’s this book where she is grown and all of that prediction of the future pulls together with, I believe I recall correctly, maximum angst. And Russian stuff.


A Pirate’s Love by Johanna Lindsey

Holly: …the “hero” tells the heroine, “Why do you keep making me rape you?” Also a bunch of pirate stuff.

Something Wonderful by Judith McNaught 

Erin: …they’re not really equals because she’s a country gentlewoman and he’s a duke, but he’s taken by her when they meet and marries her out of hand. Then on their way from the wedding to his estate, he is kidnapped and shipped off to parts unknown while she is left a naive widow at the mercy of people she doesn’t really know, unaware that they may not be acting in the best interests of either her or the lost duke. Needless to say, when the duke gets home, he’s really mad. 

A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare

Holly: …this is the first Spindle Cove book, and it’s all about a battle of the sexes. And there’s a literal battle? With cannons? 

Back to Old School, Dueling Review

Back to Old School: Pirate Week

Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey (1990)

Heat Factor: It’s your standard old school fare—a couple of relatively descriptive scenes and then a bunch of interludes that fade to black.

Character Chemistry: Antagonism leads to love. 

Plot: Georgie is dressed as a boy but James knows she’s a woman. So he’s seducing her. And then they’re forced to get married. 

Overall: Slow. Then bonkers.


versus


Captured by Beverly Jenkins (2009)

Heat Factor: There’s a lot of blue balls, and then it’s just balls to the wall.

Character Chemistry: It was “NO!” Then, “YES, let’s do it.” Then, “Let’s get married!”

Plot: Dominic steals Clare away from her mistress and shows her a life of freedom, but Clare can’t rest easy until her children have also been freed from slavery.

Overall: High stakes, low tension. Very historically juicy.

Continue reading “Back to Old School: Pirate Week”