Married by Morning (Hathaways, #4): Review

Book: Married by Morning
Series: Hathaways, #4
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Reviewed by: Danielle
Rating: 5/5 stars

Lisa Kleypas is by far my favorite romance writer. She has a gift for storytelling, for sweeping her readers off their feet, and for making Regency England come alive so much so that you wish you could go back in time and experience it yourself. You want to fall in love while dancing a waltz with a man who’s wearing a cravat and pantaloons and brooding over the fact that he can’t rip off your corset then and there and “take” you. (Or maybe that last bit is just me.) With all the romance novels out there today, you would think the genre would have become stale and too predictable by now; not so with Ms. Kleypas. Her stories are fun, absorbing, and also character-driven. This last is the major reason why her books are so successful: her heroines are women you root for and admire, strong yet vulnerable, independent but passionate. But let’s be honest: it’s the heroes we truly care about, and Kleypas knows how to create the most swoon-worthy, sigh-inducing gentlemen. From the dashing Simon Hunt to the brooding cockney Derek Craven to the delectably charming Sebastian St. Vincent, Kleypas has a knack for making you fall in love all over again with each book. It’s a testament to her talent that she can create completely different but equally endearing heroes.

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Fahrenheit 451: Review

Book: Fahrenheit 451
Author: Ray Bradbury
Reviewed by: Danielle
Rating: 4/5 stars

Every few weeks or so I like to visit a book store. Sometimes I have a goal, a specific book in mind (usually several), and other times I simply want to browse and enjoy myself. The smell is usually the first thing I notice – it’s one of my favorites. There’s nothing like a room full of books, their aroma so distinct and calming. Eventually I scan the usual sections, rejoicing yet at the same time despairing over how many books I have yet to read, wishing I could buy all of them but knowing I already have a whole box at home to finish. There is nothing quite like buying a new book. Even if you cannot read it for another few weeks or even months, there is a sweet sensation about having it in your hands, knowing it’s yours to devour whenever you wish. Reading a story for the first time, turning it page by page unconscious of what’s going to happen next, even the mere physicality of it in your hands, is an intoxicating experience. There is so much variety, so many emotions books pull out of you. My trips to the book store mean discovering something new; finding words that are pieced together in a way my mind has not yet comprehended. Words that will move me and grow inside of me; I will learn and be a better person for having read them.

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Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (Bridgertons, #4): Review

Book: Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
Series: Bridgertons, #4
Author: Julia Quinn
Reviewed by: Danielle
Rating: 4/5 stars

So I’ve come to really like the historical-romance genre. Is the writing up there with literature’s finest? No. But with the right author, the stories are engaging and swift and, well, romantic. For a girl like me, that goes a long way. I love love stories. It’s in my genes, my DNA, my whatever. I have tended to read a lot of “high brow” literature, but I’ve come to realize that the romance genre satisfies a different side of me. They’re easy reads but so enjoyable as well. There’s no need for expectations of great complexity or literary “richness”. The plot lines may be formulaic and predictable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wrap yourself up in them. You can still invest yourself in the couple and in their romance. Plus, if there’s one thing I enjoy about the romance genre, it’s the men. It must not take a whole lot to make me swoon, because I’ve found most of them emotionally and physically satisfying to the umpteenth degree.

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Emma: Review

Book: Emma
Author: Jane Austen
Reviewed by: Danielle
Rating: 4/5 stars

Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors. She is funny and witty, she makes pointed social commentary without overtly moralizing or becoming too “serious”, and she has given us some of the very best romances, the latter which holds a great deal of appeal for me. Her heroes are so easy to fall in love with – from the proud but devoted Mr. Darcy to the tender┬áCaptain Wentworth who wrote one of the most precious love letters in literature. I admire, also, Ms. Austen’s fearlessness and courage, to express feminist concerns in the face of a hierarchical society. It’s easy as a modern reader to see how stifled a woman could feel in the early nineteenth century, but it’s clear that Austen knew, and felt, the limitations placed on her own sex. She desires more for her heroines – she wants them to breathe, to grow, to learn – and, in large part, fulfills this desire in the context of love and marriage and equal partnership. You finish her novels (with perhaps the exception of Mansfield Park, which I have not read), feeling that the couples are perfectly matched and have grown in one another. This is no exception in Emma.

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Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflowers, #1): Review

Book: Secrets of a Summer Night
Series: Wallflowers, #1
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Reviewed by: Danielle
Rating: 5/5 stars

Before I start to gush, let me get something out of the way first: I don’t read romance novels. That is, I hadn’t before I became addicted to Lisa Kleypas’ wonderful Wallflowers series. The only introduction to the genre I’ve had previously is the first two books of the Outlander series, and many would tell you emphatically that those cannot be categorized as romance. But that’s a different story. Truth be told, I would avoid this section of book stores with its steamy book covers like the plague. I had preconceived notions as to the quality of writing I would find in those books and so steered clear.

However, I’m not anything if not romantic, so I find it odd that I’ve just now discovered quality writing in the romance genre. Who knew that all you had to do was look (or ask a friend, in this instance). I’ll admit that the writing is no Jane Austen or Virginia Woolf, but Lisa Kleypas’ breezy series is well-written, with strong (and swoon-worthy) characters, precious love stories, and heartfelt passion. Kleypas knows how to weave a story and how to satisfy her readers while also keeping them engaged on the edge of their seats, hearts thumping. I acknowledged numerous times throughout the series how skillfully she keeps two characters apart for just enough time to tantalize and make her readers squirm, and then brings them together again at just the right moment with fires blazing. Continue reading