The first one, The Husband Test by Betina Krahn, is absolutely adorable. One of my favorite re-reads. Eloise is a nun-in-training, headstrong, independent, and driving her mother superior out of her mind. Peril, Earl of Whitmore, is a master warrior, but floundering as master of his estate, and in dire need of a wife. Mother Superior figures out the perfect way to fix her nagging problem with Eloise. She sends her with Peril to "judge" him and figure out which novice at the Convent of the Brides of Virtue will best suit him in marriage. Eloise and Peril are one of my favorite romance couples....their rocky road to love is wonderful to read. The addition of various other intriguing characters, a fascinating historical setting, a compelling plot, and totally satisfying sexual chemistry between the leads, makes this one a keeper. This is a great summer read (and my copy has the chlorine stains to prove it!). By the way, if you read this one and love it, I would also recommend The Wife Test- another really cute book! Grade: A
Another excellent red-haired heroine (Eloise from The Husband Test has firey locks which mesmerize Peril!) is Anna in Karen Hawkin's An Affair To Remember. This is part of the St. Johns' brothers series. My two favorites of this series are An Affair To Remember (Anthony's story), and Lady In Red (Marcus' story). Usually, families of naughty children can become rather irritating in a romance novel. The scene of this book in which Anna, a governess, meets the five unruly children Anthony has recently "inherited" makes you wonder how the hell she is going to win them over. Well, Hawkins does an extraordinarily good job showing us how the bonds gradually build between these distrustful children and Anna and Anthony. It is funny, sweet, touching. Everything a summer romance read should be! This book includes a nasty meddling grandmother, shy fiance, plotting grandfather, and adorable gaggle of children. Anna is a very appealing heroine...beautiful, strong and determined to provide for her down-on-their-luck family, and Anthony is a strict disciplinarian thrown for a huge loop by this sexy governess and the five impish kids. Hawkins' dialogue is superb...I laugh out loud a lot reading this book. It also has a very satisfying HEA ending. The scene where Anthony is forced to rescue Anna in the lake is at once hilarious, touching, and memorable. I should also add that it is not necessary to read the whole series to enjoy this book...it can totally stand on its own!) Grade: A
Thanks to my wonderful husband who got me a Barnes and Noble gift certificate for my birthday (does he know me or what??), I will be purchasing Loretta Chase's new book, Don't Tempt Me, also Julia Quinn's What Happens in London, and finally Sabrina Jeffries final book of the School of Heiresses series. Can't wait! I will also be judging some paranormal romance contest entries this week. Happy reading, everyone!