Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Summons From the Duke by Jerrica Knight-Catania, Lilia Birney & Samantha Grace

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Obtained from: Author
Read: Nov. 18, 2011 

The powerful Duke of Danby summons all of his wayward grandchildren home for the holidays. Book two of the Regency Christmas Summons Collection.

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This review is different than most of the books I feature here as it is an anthology collection. I feel commenting on the entire book as I do with most of my reviews would be unfair so I have opted to review each piece individually. My overall rating reflects my opinion of the book in its entirety.

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Loving Mr. Lockwell by Jerrica Knight-Catania
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First off I want to acknowledge both Knight-Catania and Stone. If you are going to write parallel story lines the details need to correspond correctly. Loving Mister Lockwell and The Counterfeit Summons blend seamlessly from plot twists to dialogue. As I read the Regency Christmas Summons books in order I could not give credit to Stone my review of The Counterfeit Summons and I beg indulgence for high-jacking part of this review to do so. 

Knight-Catania’s story is simple and assuming you’ve read book one of the series, highly predictable. The title alone told me where this story was going. I would be lying if I said it didn’t make me a little nervous but first impressions can be deceiving. The brilliance of this short is in the telling. Izzy and Lockwell’s relationship is reminiscent not of Romeo and Juliet but Benedict and Beatrice. It didn’t matter that I knew the outcome because it was so thoroughly entertaining. Certain lines put me in line of Lord of the Rings, Becoming Jane and Aladdin but even so, I found Loving Mister Lockwell both clever and engaging. 

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A Second Chance for Christmas by Lilia Birney
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How do you spice up a sweet regency era romance? You open your story with attempted suicide, drug addiction and death. I love the distinctly dark direction of Birney’s opening and though I don’t consider myself much of a judge, I think the sex scene was noteworthy in terms of content and because it is the raciest thing to appear in the series thus far. Unfortunately the piece as a whole felt half-baked. Flesh out the back story, gift Emily and Philip a little depth and this is easily one of the strongest installments of the entire collection. As it stands I feel A Second Chance for Christmas falls just a hair short. There is tons of potential here, I mean loads of it. This is not a two bit writer who was thrown in with the big boys. As a reader I am frustrated and yes, these comments sound awful but I beg you to keep in mind where they are coming from. This is so stinking close to awesome it hurts. I applaud the effort but it is just so frustrating to be short changed by an author who is so obviously capable of more. 

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Twice Upon A Time by Samantha Grace
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I have to say I was bored with the beginning of this one. Two individuals with a shared past and a certain attraction to one another. No offense meant, but it had a certain resemblance to Julie Johnstone's contribution, A Gift of Seduction in book 1 of the Collection. Thankfully, Samantha Grace's Twice Upon A Time wasn't a mere rehash. Julian and Felicity's relationship is distinctive and entertaining, especially when you consider Felicity's propensity to issue scholarly diatribes at the most inappropriate of moments. Predictable, but charmingly unique. 

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"Grandfather!" Julian stepped forward to rescue her. "There are some things even a duke must not ask."
"I am a grandfather. I may ask anything I like."
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