Talk Sweetly to Me by Courtney Milan

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Grade: A
Hotness Level: Blaze
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Historical, London
Series: Brothers Sinister #4.5
Published: 8/19/14
Reviewed by Anne

I saw “Courtney Milan” and “novella” and “mathmetics” and I was in!  I have a good history reading Milan and enjoying her stories.  I’m not a huge historical fan anymore, but Milan + math was enough for me.  I was right, too, this story did not disappoint.

Rose is a “computer,” a person who does math for a researcher.  She’s a genius and really enjoys her work.  She’s a bit shy and shocked to find herself attracted to her neighbor, the scandalous Stephen Shaughnessy.  He’s an advice columnist and a known rake and he’s surprised to find himself falling for her.  As a way to spend more time with her, he manipulates her into giving him math lessons.  This leads to some incredible math innuendo!

Stephen and Rose are wonderful characters.  I was pleasantly surprised that the Rose is black!  That was new for me in a historical.  Stephen is white.  He seems untroubled by their differences, but Stephen is not a worrier by nature, and he’s not experienced the discrimination that Rose is used to, both for her gender and her race.

Rose is very intelligent and comfortable with it.  Stephen is entranced by her and her abilities.  He appears to be quite shallow, and as it turns out, he has a pretty light hearted approach to life, and he doesn’t feel bad about that.  It’s who he is.  It does turn out to be an obstacle between him and Rose, though.  He’ll have to convince her that he’s serious about her.

This was a wonderful historical novella, and I highly recommend it to historical or math lovers.  I think it’s the very first historical nerd-mance I’ve read!  And the math jokes abound and are awesome!

 

“You’re not going to multiply with me?”

“No,” she said somewhat severely. “You’re going to multiply on your own.” p. 20

 

 

“All you had to do was look up a number in a table.  Was that too difficult for you?”

“A great and might table, ringed by fearsome logarithms, with their terribly, terrible…” He trailed off.  “Oh, very well.  Set me another problem, Miss Sweetly.  My resolve is firm and my angles are acute.  But beware — if I have to draw another diagram, things may become graphic.” p.32

 

I will say, despite the cover, it’s not a ballroom and opera historical.  Stephen and Rose are solidly middle class.  It’s a great story, though!

This is the last installment in the Brothers Sinister series.  I haven’t read any of the others, and I still loved this one, so jump right in!

I only read historical romance occasionally.  How about you?  Do you enjoy historicals?  If so, do you prefer ballrooms and opera?  Pioneer America?  Medieval?  What’s your favorite?

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Caine’s Reckoning by Sarah McCarty

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Grade: A-
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Historical
Series: Hell’s Eight #1
Published: 11/1/07
Reviewed by Kate
474  pages

When Caine and his buddies ride in a rescue some women who have been kidnapped, Desi is the only one fighting the kidnappers.  And she’s the only one who doesn’t want to be returned to town.  She doesn’t want to return to her life as a sex slave.  When the reverend calls in a favor, Caine marries Desi and takes her back to his home.  But is there a way that Desi can recover from her violent past and become the wife that she wants to be for Caine?

This one has got that marriage of convenience trope that I adore, but with a kick.  Caine doesn’t really want to marry Desi, but he owes the reverend a favor and he’s a man of his word.  Plus he doesn’t feel he can really return Desi to the life she was living.  Desi is so strong.  Life hasn’t broken her.  It only seems to have made her stronger.  But there’s a fragility under her fighting surface and Caine is the one who finally allows her to start healing.

I have re-read this one more times than I can count.  There’s just something about this one that reaches out and won’t let me go.  There’s obviously quite a bit of drama dealing with Desi’s past, so if you’re looking for a light hearted, low conflict historical this isn’t it.  However, I would strongly recommend it to any fans of historicals with a bit of edge to them.

Castaway Dreams by Darlene Marshall

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Grade: B+
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Historical
Published: 5/6/12
Reviewed by Kate
324  pages

Surgeon Alexander Murray and socialite Daphne Farnham are passengers aboard a ship heading for England.  Alexander is serious man, never seen to smile.  Daphne is constantly smiling and giggling, her head filled with fluff.  While Alexander has a hard time tolerating her, he finds himself attracted to her all the same.  Realizing the vast difference in their social positions, Alexander is determined not to let himself act on his desires.  But when a storm strands the pair on a deserted island, he discovers there’s more to Daphne than meets the eye.

Daphne’s character is hilarious.  And like Alexander, we quickly discover that there are many layers to her.  She’s not just the silly girl that she first appears to be.  And Daphne’s relationship with Alexander is just perfect.  Softening his harsher edges, they seem to be the perfect pair.

This is a re-read for me.  I’ve also read Sea Change by Darlene Marshall, which is loosely related to this one, but this one can completely stand alone.  Pirates, shipwrecks, and little fluffy dogs.  This one is the perfect historical read for anyone who likes a little sea faring with their romance.