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Kasey Michaels

REVIEW:  The Anonymous Miss Addams by Kasey Michaels

REVIEW: The Anonymous Miss Addams by Kasey Michaels

anonymous-miss-addams

He was London’s most eligible–and outrageous–bachelor. But though Pierre Standish didn’t give a whit for polite society, he could not deny his father’s latest request. To prove himself a true gentleman, Pierre had to perform a random good deed. The task proved unimaginatively easy when, en route to London, Pierre came upon a damsel lying in the road. Her clothes bespoke her an urchin, but although his anonymous Miss Addams had lost her memory, Pierre was certain she was a well-bred lady. A lady whose innocence and plight might just ensnare the ton’s most unattainable rogue.

Dear Ms. Michaels,

Years ago I read and enjoyed some of your early trad regencies and remember them as being funny and light reading. When I was smack in the middle of a longer, non-fiction, war torn story, I needed a break, a breather, something to lighten my spirits before plunging back into world war. Ha! I thought. I got a number of Kasey Michaels’ older trad regencies a while ago when I saw them for sale at eHarlequin. That’s the ticket.

The intriguing intro bit got things off to an good start – what’s going on here, who are these people talking so calmly about killing and what’s the relationship of these two? I quickly flipped the page, eager to discover the answers.

Then opening chapter drops like a brick. What is this? Is this lengthy scene about this book? No, obviously it’s explaining something from the past so why have it here? It seems that it’s one huge info dump about another book’s events. The whole time I’m plowing through it, in the back of my mind I’m hearing the mechanical voice intoning “stall, stall, stall” and the sounds of the plane going down.

Thankfully the engine then sputtered back to life and this one got cranking with an interesting set up of the hero Pierre being admonished by his father to accomplish two Good Deeds. As he’s headed back to London, the opportunity to achieve them quickly arrives when Pierre saves an apprenticed chimney sweep from an oppressive master and finds an unconscious young woman in the middle of the road.

Lots of fast paced dialog followed. I enjoyed the valet Duval and Pierre’s repartee. I was not so enamored of the sweep Holloway’s cant but then too much cant usually does me in, even in a Heyer novel. Caroline is a plucky heroine who verbally gives as good as she gets. She doesn’t ever let Pierre off the hook that way and I liked their linguistic battles.

The mystery of who Those People from the intro are and what they are up to isn’t bad. The battle royale between Caroline and Pierre is great fun. At this point my impression was that they’re evenly matched, meant for each other and they’ll have a lifetime of pitched volleys ahead of them. I was even okay with the amnesia plot which usually sends me screaming.

Unfortunately then the book faltered a bit later as the truth begins to be revealed and after another nod to a past book dumps more returning characters in the mix. This is when I got annoyed and wanted to slap the smug off Pierre and his father for all the reasons the ladies blow up at them for. Even with both women practically imploring them to tell who amnesiac Caroline is, they’re too clever for their own britches. Men! But then Pierre goes into morose self flagellation mode over not telling Caroline about the danger she was in. At this point I do agree with his father in snapping him out of it. Then I had to remind myself that he’s had a lifetime of self satisfaction ingrained in him so what could I expect.

The final resolution of the mystery is tongue-in-cheek fun and I do approve of the way Pierre handles the whole drama but by this time, his high handedness earlier had left it’s mark on my opinion of the whole. I finished the book hoping that Caroline gives him daily grief and brings him down a peg. Or two. C+

~Jayne

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REVIEW: The Bride Plan by Kasey Michaels

REVIEW: The Bride Plan by Kasey Michaels

Dear Ms. Michaels,

Last year I gave the first two books in this series A- grades. And ever since then I’ve been eagerly waiting for Chessie’s chance to find her Mr. Perfect after being left at the altar by Mr. Asshole. Would there be revenge? Or public humiliation? Or would MaryLou work her matchmaking magic again to get us a satisfying ending? I had to wait a while to find out and the results aren’t quite up to the two previous books but I’m still fairly happy by the end.

As proprietor of the Second-Chance Bridal salon, Chessie Burton couldn’t exactly avoid thinking about weddings. But her good friends’ quest to find her a man had her running for cover. Her safe haven used to be her store, until renovator Jace Edwards—and his hammer, nails and very naked chest—invaded her space.

The Bride Plan Kasey MichaelsSoon Jace found himself wanting to be the only man in Chessie’s life—but he’d walked down the aisle once before and vowed never to do so again. So how could he keep things light with a woman whose business was marriage? Especially once her friends dubbed him the perfect groom-to-be!

Chessie got publicly walloped by her ex-fiance in that he left her an hour before the altar but she turned lemons into lemonade. She acted graciously at the time and has built a business out of her experience which she loves and is good at. Her triumph is her best revenge. When Rick returns, Chessie doesn’t go to pieces, she doesn’t agonize over him, she doesn’t turn stupid – she ignores him. Until he pressures her into meeting and even then, she quickly realizes that she’s grown past what happened, she isn’t going to dwell on it nor allow it to take over or dictate her responses. She acts maturely, like a woman with the sense and smarts to run her own business.

So Chessie has moved on from her first engagement, learned and matured. Jace has too. He acknowledges his responsibility in the failure of his first marriage and is wary of a second one. I love Jace’s initial thoughts on the store and the clientele they cater to – Strike Two Bridal for 1st time losers. As a romance hero he can’t be a total shit so I can accept that his fault during the first marriage lay in the fact that he was trying to established his business and taking classes thus having little time for a the demands of a relationship. I like that he shows his concern in X-chromosome ways – by puttering around Chessie’s house fixing things and deciding that she needs an alarm system.

They have the proverbial “one night of hot sex to get the other out of their systems.” Frankly I’m tired of this though it seems to be a standard romance trope I’m going to have to deal with. They then have to deal with the fallout in how they feel about this and where their relationship stands. Both are dissatisfied with the decision to just have that one night with no strings or expectations. They have some Men are from Mars and Women from Venus awkward moments afterwards as they misunderstand what the other is thinking but! they then move forward and decide to get to know the other. Despite the fact that they can “Booh” and “Yah” with the best of them, both realize that though sex is great it’s not the whole of a relationship and forge ahead to discover the rest of the other.

MaryLou is a sneaky woman. I know someone like her and love that person. Her instincts about Jace bordered on slightly stereotypical – he’s a he man just because he’s a carpenter/contractor? He’s all man because he wears a tool belt? Thankfully ML has other instincts to back up why she thought Jace would be good for Chessie in that they’re both driven people, have started and nurtured their own businesses, etc because the initial reasons don’t sit well with me. However, I do approve of the fact that ML got Chessie to spill the beans to Jace about meeting Rick. For their relationship to have a hope in surviving, the boards need to be cleared and secrets like this aired and dealt with.

Other characters from first two books are revisited and take part in this book but don’t overwhelm the story or muscle Jace and Chessie out of the spotlight so we can find out how deliriously happy they are. This also makes me happy.

It’s not that this isn’t a good book but it’s hard to maintain a series and unfortunately it shows here. Though perhaps some of my disappointment is due to the fact that the first two were so strong. And maybe because I have been waiting for this one … and waiting and waiting. No – I’m not impatient, not me. I liked Chessie and Jace’s road to their HEA but I didn’t love it with the warm furry bunny love of the first two books. B

~Jayne

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