Novel Reaction

Because you can't judge a book by its cover

I don’t remember the first time I read The Secret of the Old Clock, the first in the Nancy Drew series, but I do remember devouring the series the way I now devour Godiva Chocolates (can’t get enough and approach cautiously unless you want to be injured for interrupting me). For the first time in my life the main character who went out and solved the problem was a female. Don’t get me wrong, prior to the Nancy Drew series I had read most of the Boxcar Children series but Jessie follows her brother’s lead in that series whereas Nancy leads the way. It allowed me to see that girls should be asking “why” and “what if”, questioning the world around them and paying attention to what is going on. I still have my original copy (which was my mother’s first),  a dogeared well used hardbound edition. I read some Hardy Boys novels but I didn’t devour the series like I did the Nancy Drew series. Although I will admit I really wanted Frank of the Hardy Boys and Nancy to get together (I always felt like Ned was a little wishy-washy for Nancy) and when I was in middle school I LOVED the Nancy Drew-Hardy Boys Super Mysteries.

This week marks the 85th anniversary of the publication of The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene. There is a wonderfully written essay by Theodore Jefferson about “The Girl Who Started it All” found here and a nice tribute on The Mighty Girls Facebook page here. I love to see the books I enjoyed in my younger years still being enjoyed today! I also love it when publishers embrace newer (ebooks are not really new anymore but some older published books haven’t been updating older print books into new formats) formats and you can get The Secret of the Old Clock in hardcover, mass paperback, ebook, audible CD and audible download.  In addition to the original novels, Nancy Drew has also been the star of a film (2007 starring Emma Roberts) and an entire series of mystery video games (Jillian, a reviewer here at Novel Reaction, is addicted to them and I think has almost all, if not all of them).

When my younger sister Jordanne and I found the newer artwork at a book story I was seriously tempted to get a new copy just because I love the 1930s outfit they put Nancy in. After writing this, I may just have to dig out my copy of The Secret of the Old Clock and reread it for old time’s sake this week. Did you read the Nancy Drew mysteries? Any other books you grew up reading that made a huge impact on your life?

victorian horse racingMia Carrington has been in love with Vander Septimus Brody, Duke of Pindar, since her painful teens. In Four Nights With a Duke by Eloisa James, Mia knows that the action she is about to take will make him hate her forever but she can’t find any other way to take care of what needs to be done other than to blackmail Vander into marrying her. Vander has always felt bad about how he treated Mia when they were in their teens but that doesn’t give her the right to come to his house demanding that he marry her immediately.

I was so excited to get Vander’s story after really liking him in Three Weeks with Lady X and I feel like Four Nights With a Duke just didn’t quite deliver. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great moments and fabulous, FABULOUS, secondary characters (I adored the drunk great uncle spouting Shakespeare, with only Mia realizing he was quoting the bard and not just being crazy) and the initial scene between Mia and Vander were painfully awkward and well done. BUT (and is a big BUT) I ended up not liking Vander very much and I really didn’t like his treatment of Mia. I get that one of the great tools for a romance novel is mis-communication between the characters but it felt like Vander was just constantly mean in what he said to Mia and how he treated her and I struggled to understand why she would keep going back to him. I get it, the sex was great, but sex alone is not enough to fulfill someone and goodness knows that all Mia wanted was to be loved for herself. I also felt like Vander was unnecessarily crude during the scene where Mia is approaching him to marry her, he was a Duke raised from birth to treat ladies a particular way and I just feel like it was a bit out of character for him.

I did love Mia’s character, I loved that she was a secret novelist and loved the wink Eloisa James gave to other contemporary historical authors Julia Quinn and Lisa Kelypas “P.S. I include herewith not only Miss Julia Quiplet’s works, but a new novel written by Mrs. Lisa Klampas, which I believe you will enjoy.” And I really loved the reference to a Julia Quinn character who was an author “Another Author she knew had caused a character to be pecked to death by pigeons. Pigeons?” It is a stand alone novel but I recommend reading Three Weeks With Lady X before reading Four Nights With a Duke just so you understand the relationship between Vander and Thorn. Four Nights With a Duke is a good one time read but I doubt that I will be rereading it like I do with most of Eloisa James’s other novels.

There is some use of the “F” word.

You can read an excerpt here.

Desperate Duchesses Reading Order:

Desperate Duchesses

An Affair Before Christmas

Duchess by Night

When the Duke Returns

This Duchess of Mine

A Duke of Her Own

Three Weeks with Lady X

Four Nights With The Duke

four nights with a dukeRating: Star 3copy

Content: favicon5 NB

Title: Four Nights With a Duke

Author: Eloisa James

Format: Paperback, eBook

Page Nos.: 384

AISN: B00JBETURA

Publisher: Avon Romance

Release Date: March 31, 2015

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

 

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

Mike Taggart in Last Chance Family by Hope Ramsay is used to gambling with money, as a professional gambler in Las Vegas he has no problem taking chances but, for the first time in his life, the chance he is taking might be more than he is willing to pay. When his half-sister is murdered Mike takes custody of his niece, 5 year-old niece Rainbow, and he is determined to give her the best family he can, which means tracking down his brother Tim, who he hasn’t seen since he was five, a pastor in Last Chance. While Father Tim seems willing to take on Rainbow, Mike decides to stay in Last Chance until he can find the perfect mother for Rainbow and arrange for that woman to date Tim.

Charlene Polk has a history of choosing the wrong men. When she meets her new temporary neighbor, sexy Mike she sees trouble written all over him. But Mike has his niece who desperately needs to be loved and Charlene desperately wants to give that love.

Last Chance Family is the eighth book in the Last Chance series set in a fabulous small town where miracles can happen but don’t expect to keep anything a secret. I am fan of the series but have to admit that Last Chance Family isn’t my favorite of the series. The novel is a great story of people trying to overcome past mistakes to become better than their parents but Charlene was a bit too wishy-washy when she was younger for me. I appreciate that she had strong parents who pressured her into doing what they wanted but I struggled a bit with her as the heroine. That being said, Last Chance Family is a great story about overcoming your past, letting others into your heart, and learning from your mistakes. You don’t have to read the Last Chance series in order (each of the novels is a stand alone novel) but you will appreciate the secondary characters better if you have read the previous series.

You can read an excerpt here.

Last Chance Reading Order

Last Chance Bride

Small Town Christmas

Welcome to Last Chance (you can read my review here)

Home at Last Chance

Last Chance Beauty Queen

Last Chance Christmas (you can read my review here)

Last Chance Book Club

Last Chance Summer

Last Chance Knit & Stitch (you can read my review here)

A Christmas To Remember (you can read my review here)

Inn at Last Chance (you can read my review here)

Rating: Star 4copy

Content: favicon5 NB

Title: Last Chance Family

Author: Hope Ramsay

Format: Paperback, eBook

Page Nos.: 369

AISN: B00IRISK4K

Publisher: Hachette Book Group

Release Date: November 2014

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

 

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

As you can imagine from the title, Jane Slayre by Charlotte Bronte and Sherri Browning Erwin is a retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre only with paranormal creatures added. Is this humorous retelling Jane is the daughter of vampire slayers being raised (after her parents are killed by vampires) by her vampire aunt and three vampire children. I have to admit the scene where her cousin John attacks her takes on a whole new level of scary when you add in the fact he could easily drain her blood.

I enjoyed that Erwin kept the original story line for the most part, light gothic elements and truly a story about Jane coming of age and staying true to who she was. The one place, interestingly enough, where I felt like Erwin deviated from the original story was how there was some discussion about souls or minds being linked across distance in the original Jane Eyre. For example there were the twins who were part of the house party at Mr. Rochester’s that the doctor was there asking them questions, truly believing that souls could communicate across distance. So this one paranormal element that was in the original story, was left out in the new paranormal version of the story. I just that it was amusing that this was where Erwin deviated from the original, other than the one moment that Rochester calls out for Jane but it felt slightly out of nowhere especially considering all the other paranormal elements.

If you are a fan of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies I think you will be entertained by Jane Slayre. I giggled through quite a bit of it (I mean really, zombies with bits falling of them while they are performing their tasks as servants) and appreciated the additions of the truly gothic elements. If you are expecting a more serious retelling of Jane Eyre you are better off just rereading the original but if you are interested in an entertaining couple of hours then Jane Slayre is a fabulous choice.

You can read an excerpt here.

Rating: Star 4copy

Content: favicon no background

Title: Jane Slayre

Author: Charlotte Bronte and Sherri Browning Erwin

Format: Paperback,  eBook

Page Nos.: 402

AISN: B003E7WJJQ

Publisher: Gallery Books

Release Date: April 2010

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

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Why Ratings?

It is true you can't judge a book by its cover, you also can't judge a book's graphic content by its cover. NovelReaction's goal is to provide readers with a graphic content so they can make an informed decision regarding the books they want to read. (Also, to have a great place for people to discuss books.) So sit back, pull up a beverage, and read on!

Graphic Ratings*

1 = kissing
2 = kissing, some fondling
3 = descriptive stripping but no sex
4 = sex scene but not descriptive in details
5 = full descriptive sex scene

*I am rating a specific book by an author, not the author's style. If I am aware an author writes a specific way, I will let you know.

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