Novella Review: ‘Twas the Night Before Mischief by Nina Rowan

‘Twas the Night Before Mischief (A Daring Hearts Novella)

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

This is a cute Christmas read, with a surprising amount of angst.  Both Penelope and Darius long for something more, yet neither knows how to break out of the mold of perfect behavior they have shaped themselves into.  Penelope has bridled for freedom, for recognition, for anything but being the paragon of perfection she has become.  She seethes with passion and she desperately wants to be something else.  Anything else but the obedient daughter of Henry Darlington.  Darius is the son of an earl, and being a younger son among many, he feels just as ignored as Penelope.  After his mother causes a family scandal that almost ruins his family, he is determined to do the right thing.  Even though he bristles at being unemotional and passionless.

Ha!  This couple burned up the pages with their wicked flirting, most of which consisted of word play sizzling with innuendo. Darius has just accepted a commission to write the Scientific and Literary Treasury, an encyclopedia of terms to replace more antiquated dictionaries, so words and their meanings are played up in the narrative.  He is also an inventor, seeking better methods of mixing chocolates for use at the Darlington’s confectionary.  He places a great deal of pride on his ability to think things through, so his attraction to Penelope puzzles him.  She is impulsive and so not like him.  After running away with a rake, Darius has agreed to go fetch her.  While he can pretend that he’s doing Henry a favor, he’s really chasing after her for himself. 

Penelope has run off to the wilds of Scotland with a fortune seeking rogue.  When his mother firmly rejects her because she’s the daughter of a shop keeper, she finds herself stranded in a tiny town, with no money and no possessions.  She’s desperate to make enough money to get herself back home.  When Darius arrives in town to fetch her back, she’s not happy.  She thinks he has the emotional depth of a herring, but their journey back to London will show her how wrong she is.  Even though she’s angry that he’s come to collect her like an errant schoolgirl, she’s relieved that her horrible ordeal will soon be over.  She’s also reminded of the fiery kiss she and Darius shared under the mistletoe…

I really liked Penelope.  Her mother died when she was a child, and when her father remarried and started a new family, she never felt that she was a part of it.  Though her new step-mother treated her with kindness, Penelope was aching over the loss of her mother, and she felt betrayed by her father.  She felt that he ignored her, and that she was invisible to him.  When he planned a Christmas celebration on the anniversary of her mother’s death, she finally gave into the temptation to be seen and heard.  Yes, in retrospect she could have chosen her rebellion a bit more carefully, but how could she have known that Wilkie was still tied so firmly to his mother’s apron strings?  Being sent packing with no money and no means to get home gave her time to think, and also gave her the opportunity to get to know Darius better when he finally showed up to escort her home.

‘Twas the Night Before Mischief is a pleasant way to while away some time  between holiday preparations.  The ending is very cute, too, and now I’m curious to read a longer book by Nina Rowan.

Grade:  B+

Available December 10, 2013

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Twas the night before mischief and all through the house, a lady was plotting-it was time to break out! 

When Penelope Darlington is persuaded to elope with a most unsuitable suitor, she wastes no time. With visions of passion and adventure dancing in her head, she steals away in the middle of the night, just before her father’s Christmas feast.

Fearing for his daughter’s reputation, Henry Darlington begs Darius Hall, the Earl of Rushton’s daring yet discreet son, to bring Penelope home. When Darius finally catches up to Penelope he is shocked. She’s not the silly little girl he expected, but a beautiful woman with a sharp mind and an allure that cannot be ignored.

Now forced to kidnap Penelope in order to bring her home, Darius and his new charge spend the next several days-and nights-in very close quarters. Penelope wanted passion and adventure, but she never could have imagined the pleasures Darius can provide . . .

Interview with Bethanne Strasser, Author of Letters From Home and Giveaway!

Please give a warm welcome to Bethanne Strasser!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Bethanne Strasser] Lover. Army Wife. Friend. Mother. Impulsive. Rebellious. Faithful. Irish. Temper. Strong-willed.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Letters from Home?

[Bethanne Strasser] Letters from Home is a story of finding love where you least expect it. When Lena Rodriguez comes home from a deployment, she expects to meet the man of her dreams. Instead, the man who keeps grabbing her attention is Zachary Benson, the friend who has always been more like a brother. It’s a sweet [okay, not really sweet as in--a sensual rating. :D :P], poignant story about going beyond friendship to a love that will last a lifetime.

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Novella Review: Roman Holiday 2 Hitched by Ruthie Knox

 

 

Roman Holiday 2: Hitched: A Loveswept Contemporary Romance

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

This episode of Roman Holiday is a blast.  Ashley has convinced (tricked) Roman to help her evacuate with her things from the approaching hurricane.  What she neglects to tell him is that her “things” means the ancient Airstream trailer that her grandmother left for her.  She also fails to mention that her evacuation plans involve driving hundreds of miles to her friend’s house.  She is convinced that her friend can convince Roman that his plan to tear down the resort community is a terrible idea. Ashley is so fortunate that Roman is a man of his word, and that after learning he’s been played, he doesn’t just dump her and her beat up trailer on the side of the road.

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Novella Review: On His List by Wendy Sparrow

 

 

On His List (Entangled Flirts)

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

ZOMG, I really enjoyed this novella, and I will use a word to describe it that I typically avoid because it is so over-used.  On His List is adorable.  I loved the uptight Owen, and worried that his OCD would prevent him from seeing how perfect Remy would be for him.  Would he look past her unplanned, spontaneous exterior to the caring woman lurking under the flashy clothes and oh so not sensible shoes?  Could he get beyond her list defacing ways?

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Interview with Rebecca Thomas, Author of The Blacksmith’s Son and Giveaway!

 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Hi, Rebecca!  Welcome to the Manga Maniac Café!  Can you please describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Rebecca Thomas] Stories must have a happy ending—tennis player, reluctant jogger, hockey crazy, board game lover, wife and mother who writes romantic fiction.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Blacksmith’s Son?

[Rebecca Thomas]Sure. My story opens with the heroine trying to end the suffering of an injured horse, but she doesn’t realize whose horse she’s trying to help, until it’s too late.

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Review and Giveaway: Run for the Roses by Rachel Schieffelbein

 

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I wanted to read Run for the Roses because the protagonist competes with her Arabian horse, and she rides saddleseat.  Do you know how many times I have read a book were the protagonist rides saddleseat?  Maybe three, and I read a ton of horse books.  Almost every book with competitive riding features hunters or jumpers, so I was stoked to read this story.  I wanted to see how closely Abigail’s preparations and challenges stacked up against mine.  Even though she competes in a different circuit because she shows Arabians and I show Morgans (and Saddlebreds), the run up to the biggest show of the year felt very familiar.  I really enjoyed Run for the Roses, and I wished that it was just a little longer.  At about 80 pages, most of the action takes place at the Youth Nationals, as Abigail is struggling to stay focused on winning what is essentially her last show.  She’s about to head off to U of M, and once she’s in college, it will be very difficult for her to be able to afford to show.

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