375 // 385 // 368 // 374 // 213
October 26, 2004 // September 27, 2005 // February 28, 2006 // July 25, 2006 // October 14, 2008
Secrets of a Summer Night
"I am coming to believe that there are two kinds of people...those who choose to be masters of their own fate and those who wait in chairs while others dance."
This series came HIGHLY recommended from Alexa and after reading another rec from Alexa by Lisa Kleypas, Sugar Daddy, I was all about reading her historical romance. Oh. My. Gosh. What a fan-fucking-tastic life decision this was. I LOVE this book! The writing is effortless and engages you immediately. And what grabbed my attention immediately wasn't the swoons--weird, I KNOW!--it was the comraderie we are introduced to between Anabelle, Lillian, Daisy, and Evangeline, self-proclaimed Wallflowers. They have all been sitting on the sidelines during this London season and strike up a friendship that is true and selfless. They all seek to help one another get married, starting with the oldest, Anabelle. Their friendships were my favorite part of the whole book and the series. They are brutally honest with one another, push each other to be their best selves, and support each other no matter what. It is endearing beyond words and I couldn't get enough of all the female love going on.
But let's not forget about the swoons. Simon Hunt is the son of a butcher and not nobility by any means. He has made a fortune being an entrepreneur, which is looked down upon in London society but because he has the right friends and a lot of money he is invited to certain social events. He has pursued and lusted after Anabelle from afar for over 2 years. Anabelle wants nothing to do with him because she needs to marry a peer, somebody of noble blood with a title, in order to save her family and their finances. Their attraction to one another cannot be ignored and Anabelle's reluctantly realizes her feelings for Simon. No spoilers but their dynamic is off the charts hot and Anabelle's ferocity and Simon's love for her sass burrowed its way into my heart and I could not stop reading. Their banter and wit had me laughing out loud and grinning like an idiot. I loved their playfullness and how they could let go of their burdens a little when they were with each other.
Their relationship is not all easy street though. Anabelle has to adjust her lifestyle and expectations that come with not marrying a peer. Simon has to adjust to having married a Lady and meshing together his humble beginning and his pseudo-aristocratic future. Their families couldn't be more different and when they come together...well, that's some of my favorite parts as well. Seeing the walls come down and watching people of different social spheres come to love and respect one another *sigh*. And then some crazy drama happens at the end that had my heart breaking and my eyes tearing up. Love love love. And it's no question that I went straight into It Happened One Autumn...
It Happened One Autumn
"What's the harm in allowing for the possibility? I refuse to believe that we're going to go through life without something magical happening."
It Happened One Autumn being us Lillian and Westcliff's story. Holy. Fucking. Hot. If I was born in the 1800s in London society, I would be close to what Lillian is like. She takes zero shit, finds these English rules stupid beyond words, she is opinionated, fierce, determined not to be pushed aside, and stubborn as a mule. Westcliff is arrogant, emotionless, stubborn, and plays by all rules of social decorum. He believes Lillian to be beyond reproach and a savage. They loathe the sight of one another...ha, yeah right. You know all that 'hate' just fuels the underlying sexual tension that is CLEARLY in abundance between these two. They are hotachacha HOT! Their dynamic is ON. ANOTHER. LEVEL. There are few types of relationships I love more than the hate to love. It is so passionate and raw and is founded in honesty because neither party has a problem telling the other what they really think. I loved seeing Westcliff and Lillian mold to one another and realize how perfect they are together. Westcliff lets his hair down and lets himself feel for Lillian and it was brilliant watching this straight-laced guy have the feels. I think Lillian is such a fantastic character and I loved seeing her story unfold.
More than just her love story I loved getting to know Lillian. She defies the restraints that society has on women and refuses to accept it. She gives her opinion, she knows she is smart, she knows her worth. Knowing I would more than likely be similar to Lillian had I been born in this era, I loved seeing how she gave zero fucks and refused to be demure and docile. She was outspoken with a temper to boot and she loved who she was...and she found Marcus how loved how fiery her tempermant was. Mmmm Marcus...Now we move on to Devil in Winter which is Alexa's favorite book...
Devil in Winter
"My grandmother always told me, 'Never try to turn back on a new road--you don't know what adventures away you.'"
I have been anticipating Devil in Winter since the beginning because Alexa *swoons* for Sebastian St. Vincent and I am definitely a fan. Villainized for good reason in the last book, we see Sebastian as his rock bottom...as is Evie. Abused and basicaly held captive by her family she needs a way out. What does she do? She creates her own destiny, grabs life by the balls and offers marriage to St. Vincent. She needs a husband, he needs a fortune, and they're both desperate enough to say yes to the other. What occurs after is a lesson in self-discipline. Evie refuses to be another notch in St Vincent's bed post and he wants nothing more than to ravage Evie day and night because, duh this womanizing rake finally has the feels and they are all for Evie. Le sigh.
While fighting their feelings for one another, Evie's father is dying and leaving his gambling club up for grabs basically. Sebastian steps in, like the big and sexy man he is, and works his ass off to make the club respectable enough to make a fortune once again. This is a whole new side to Sebastian that Evie sees and her defenses start to weaken. However, she still refuses to be played a fool so she gives him an ultimatum...and oh is it amazing. I never saw it comign and I'm grinning like an idiot just thinking about it. I. Loved. This. I loved that Evie was emotional but not stupid. She forged her own path with her own rules and didn't let anybody stop her. She is fierce and determined and not one to be underestimated. Her history with her family broke my heart but it didn't break her. She became more determined to force the hand of fate and make her own luck. Sebastian, on the other, found a reason to be selfless. He flourished in the club setting, taking charge, and making things right. They both came into their own so beautifully and it was such a fantastic part of the book.
No spoilers but the conflict that occurs later melted my heart in so many ways. Sebastian and Evie are perfectly suited for one another and seeing Sebastian be protective over somebody other than himself was swoon central. And while Sebastian is quite an amazing contender for the swooniest Wallflower husband, he is still safe from my reaches and firmly in Alexa's hands because my heart still lies with Marcus *heart eyes*...now let's get to Daisy...
Scandal in Spring
"But she had finally discovered that life could be even more wonderful than a fantasy. And that love could fill the real world with magic."
The last Wallflower book!! Noooo!! Seriously, y'all I read this whole series in less than a week and would have completed it in like 3 days had it not been for my family visiting and actually going out and playing tourist for 4 days. Anyways. I have been impatiently waiting to see how our final Wallflower would end up with and in a twist of fate, it's somebody she's known for years. Matthew Swift, protege of her father. Daisy could not be less pleased to hear this. She knows him as emotionless, cunning, and a spitting image of her father--not a good thing. BUT when she finally reunites with Matthew he is nothing from what she remembers. Tall, broad, handsome, and charming, this Matthew is a whole new game of Rounders (instead of ballgame--see what I did there?). Secrety in love with Daisy for years, Matthew never thought he'd have the chance to actually be with her but he's also harboring a secret from his past *dun dun dun*. Their relationship is not easy, neither one wants to admit they have feelings for the other and a little bit of hilarity ensues. When the sparks finally start flying and they both get on the same page, holy hell is it hot. I love how Matthew tries to be honorable when really he just wants to rip her clothes off and I love how Daisy fought her feelings until she knew they were true. They two are so smoking hot together that I couldn't help but notice Lisa Kleypas steadily increased the heat with each book. Wowza.
I also loved how everyone around Daisy seemed to think her clueless about the world because she loves to read and is more quiet that boisterious Lillian but Matthew didn't see her that way at all. He saw all her facets of what made her her and he loved her for it. She proves her strength of character even further when the secrets of Matthew's past are revealed. The devotion these two have to one another is on another level. Tears in my eyes while reading on my lunch break. Pathetic.
A Wallflower Christmas
"A well-read woman is a dangerous creature."
Short, quick, and dirty--this Wallfower Christmas/reunion is the perfect visit back to our most beloved friends! We get to meet Lillian and Daisy's brother Rafe and see him fall in love. I loved the banter--duh--that is brought to the table, as well as the absolute deliciousness of how swoony he is. His words (and letters) are so sigh-inducing yet make the room feel hotter. It was short and sweet and I adored meeting their brother and seeing him welcomed into the fold. The check-ins with all Wallflowers and their husbands *hears in eyes* was beautiful and fun and warmed my freaking heart!! It was a great conclusion and long epilogue with the perfect amount of romance and "conflict" of a romance without involving my beloved Wallflowers.
Overall, this series is one to put at the top of yoru TBR pile. The emphasis on female friendship is beautiful and strong and founded in the utmost trust and respect for one another. They complement each other and stand by one another right or wrong and that is really what this series is about for me. While I love the swoon...a lot...I became engaged and kept coming back because of these individual women who society labeled as 'not good enough' and flourished in their lack of sunlight. Their roots were deep and they refused to accept defeat or settle. They are inspiring and intelligent and unique. And their husbands arent' too bad, either. *wink*
If you love stories with strong female frienships, fleshed out characters, and all the swoons...this series is for you.