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    REVIEW: Hither, Page by Cat Sebastian

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    Page & Sommers: Hither Page – Cat Sebastian

    A jaded spy and a shell shocked country doctor team up to solve a murder in postwar England.

    James Sommers returned from the war with his nerves in tatters. All he wants is to retreat to the quiet village of his childhood and enjoy the boring, predictable life of a country doctor. The last thing in the world he needs is a handsome stranger who seems to be mixed up with the first violent death the village has seen in years. It certainly doesn’t help that this stranger is the first person James has wanted to touch since before the war.

    The war may be over for the rest of the world, but Leo Page is still busy doing the dirty work for one of the more disreputable branches of the intelligence service. When his boss orders him to cover up a murder, Leo isn’t expecting to be sent to a sleepy village. After a week of helping old ladies wind balls of yarn and flirting with a handsome doctor, Leo is in danger of forgetting what he really is and why he’s there. He’s in danger of feeling things he has no business feeling. A person who burns his identity after every job can’t set down roots.

    As he starts to untangle the mess of secrets and lies that lurk behind the lace curtains of even the most peaceful-seeming of villages, Leo realizes that the truths he’s about to uncover will affect his future and those of the man he’s growing to care about.


    When it comes to MM historicals, Cat Sebastian is one of my go-to authors. I am used to her writing Regency romances so it was a delightful surprise that she decided to shake things up and write about another time period.

    Hither, Page is set during post-WWII Britain. It is an era that demands discretion. The book was able to fit the romance to the setting while delivering a well-thought out mystery.

    Both MCs served during the war, Leo in what ever role he was required to do, James as the army doctor.

    Leo Page, nameless and rootless, goes wherever work takes him. He was assigned to what was purported by his boss as an easy job. He is to take care of a high-ranking military man residing in the countryside who is suspected of passing on information about the British steel industry to enemies and a dead charwoman who had a reputation as a snoop. There, he meets James Sommers, the country doctor who recognized him as one of his patients during the war.

    Leo is the first to admit, he lies. It comes natural to him as a spy. Having James recognize him strips him of his disguise and it sets the tone of their interactions. They were able to work together and flirt with each other openly when there’s only two of them. They were under no illusions what so ever. I really liked that the author made it this way because that they were able to establish a baseline of honesty in their relationship. To the rest of the world however, Leo was some clerk on vacation.

    James had to cope with his PTSD. Leo, long used to various identities, struggles with the truth. I love the subtle way they took care of each other especially with the mental toll of the war. It was a tender and beautifully nuanced relationship

    The story takes place in a span of a week or so. It was written in such a way that a lot of things happened within that short time span that it felt longer but also fast-paced. It made the romance feel slow burn so it evolved quite nicely. It also made it believable that a hardened spy would make a decision to stay with a gentle country doctor.

    The author always makes the rest of her cast stand out. There’s a couple of interesting old ladies, Edith and Cora, who had a pretty colorful past and who had surprises of their own. There’s a very enterprising and resourceful teenager, Wendy, who is their ward. She’s always out and about. We have Norris, a too handsome secretary trying to look plain, and the vicar’s wife, Mary, who can’t catch a break. Even the dead Mildred Hoggett was a palpable presence. The fact I remember their names is a testament to how memorable the characters are. Usually, secondary characters are ‘just there’ for me.

    The mystery was a clever whodunnit involving a dinner party. It kept me guessing. The twist at the end was really good. I really liked the way things slowly fell into place especially coming from Leo’s POV.

    Although I said his decision to stay with James was believable, I felt his decision regarding his job was too hasty. Given the kind of things he did, it’s something you can’t just walk away from. I felt there might be repercussions that were glossed over for the sake of a happy ending.

    However, I enjoyed the sharpness of the prose and the way the words flow. There was a great sense of time and place. It had atmosphere you can FEEL. And as always there’s an extra touch of kawaii by having some kind of adorable animal antics here and there.

    Overall, Hither, Page is a good opener to a lovely historical series. It takes you to charming English villages full of busybodies, endless cups of tea, too many biscuits and ugly mufflers held on to with affection. It’s a book where secrets were traded, killed for, and hidden in plain sight until someone really looked. It’s also about finding self-worth and deserving a bit of kindness no matter who you are.

    This is Cat Sebastian‘s take on Agatha Christie and she did it with deft touch and a coziness that speaks of hearth and home. Highly recommended!

    P.S.

    Posts about Cat Sebastian’s works here.

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Secrets
    Artist: Golden Earring
    Album: Cut


    If you like my content, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below to get your copy of Hither, Page. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases at no additional cost to you.

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    FIRST LINES FRIDAY 56: There’s A Name For This

    First Line Fridays” is by Hoarding Books and is all about the first line of a current/upcoming read. Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda’s Voice, where you turn to page 56 (or 56%) in what you’re reading a find a snippet that jumps out at you. The idea to combine the two came from Kat @ Here There Be Dragons

    I found this meme on The Writerly Way. And I’m doing this on a Thursday just to be difficult.

  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Two Rogues Make A Right by Cat Sebastian

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    Seducing the Sedgwicks: Two Rogues Make A Right – Cat Sebastian

    Will Sedgwick can’t believe that after months of searching for his oldest friend, Martin Easterbrook is found hiding in an attic like a gothic nightmare. Intent on nursing Martin back to health, Will kindly kidnaps him and takes him to the countryside to recover, well away from the world.

    Martin doesn’t much care where he is or even how he got there. He’s much more concerned that the man he’s loved his entire life is currently waiting on him hand and foot, feeding him soup and making him tea. Martin knows he’s a lost cause, one he doesn’t want Will to waste his life on.

    As a lifetime of love transforms into a tender passion both men always desired but neither expected, can they envision a life free from the restrictions of the past, a life with each other?


    Congratulations to the Seducing The Sedgwicks series for reaching peak fluff-tastic adorableness in the third book, Two Rogues Make A Right!

    It’s for books like this that incoherent squeeing emojis are deployed.

    I mean, that cover is pure ✧♡〜ヾ(◍’౪`◍)ノ゙〜 ✧♡!!!!

    A perfect cover that captures the ✧♡➴✧♡。❣╰(⋈◍>◡<◍)╯❣。✧♡ ➴✧♡!!!!-ness of the story.

    Yeah, foreheads touches ♥(ˆ⌣ˆԅ)

    I will try to write a saner review now that I had the squeeing out of the way.

    Two Rogues Make A Right is as sweet and gentle as an idyllic summer. It is a quintessential story of falling for your best friend. As such, there is the fear of losing a life-long friendship if romantic feelings become known. Mutual pining ensues. It is a tale as old as time, but Cat Sebastian was able to spin Will and Martin’s story into something more.

    It was also about Martin coming into his own. His constant attempts to be a better person than his father ever been. His struggle to gain independence and make choices for himself. His determination to be useful in a world where an entry in Debrett’s pretty much guarantees you a lifetime of decorative lounging.

    Martin came across as an almost villainous minor character in the first book, It Takes Two To Tumble. He’s grumpy and seemed to hate everybody. The second book found him in the attic, sick and cold. My sympathies were stirred. In this third installment, Martin turned out to be an utterly endearing tsundere. I really loved the scene where he spontaneously gathered posies on his way home and upon arriving, thrusted them to Will like he’s getting rid of something nasty.

    Will is the kind of guy who’s free with his affections. He’s also “unspeakably loyal” to Martin and Martin knows that. I respected the heck out of Martin for steadfastly refusing to take advantage of Will’s loyalty. Even without the romantic aspect, their friendship were goals. I really loved how they selflessly took care of each other.

    Martin rescuing Will from opium dens at the cost of his health. Will patiently nursing Martin back to health, telling him ridiculous bedtime stories. Them reading to each other! When Will was in the Navy, he got a tattoo on his arm with Martin’s name on it even before there were amorous feelings involved. To Will, Martin is home. Simple as that.

    I want to build Will and Martin a blanket fort and keep the big bad world away from them. These are two precious dorks! Protect at all cost!

    P.S.

    Seducing the Sedgwicks is best experienced by reading the books in order. The series might not be 5-stars across the board like The Turners series, but It Takes Two To Tumble was also a highly enjoyable take on the Sound of Music. Read my review here.

    I DNFed A Gentleman Always Keeps Score. I wasn’t connecting to the story. I will not be posting a review for it.

    Cat Sebastian books here.

    Rating:
    5 Stars – absolutely perfect

    Soundtrack: Fallingforyou
    Artist: The 1975
    Album: IV

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    BOOKS I DNFed OR PUT ON HOLD (Part 3)

    This is another round of books I dropped or mostly not in the mood for at the moment.

    Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.


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    Sam would do anything to protect those he loves, even if it means stealing from a wealthy gentleman. But when he encounters Hartley, he soon finds himself wanting to steal more than just a painting from the lovely, lonely man—he wants to steal his heart.

    I couldn’t believe I’m saying this about a Cat Sebastian creation but I was bored. Sam is a sweetheart but I wasn’t connecting with Hartley. I just want to finish this so I could get to Will and Martin’s book. This is a struggle to finish so I’m putting it aside for now.


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    Sometimes it’s harder to teach a young dog new tricks.

    This story was cute. The world was fascinating. The characters lovable. Unfortunately it was bogged down by sudden info-dumps and too many asides. I think it was trying to cram as much world building as possible while trying to get on with the story. Still, it’s not a hopeless case. I’ll get back to this when I feel a sudden yen for adorable shifters and their supernatural friends.


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    The long-lost magic brings doom…

    As much as I love The Ellwoods, I got bored with the repetitive assurances and endearments Ailin and Sebastian were throwing around each other. I know they’re worried because the end is nigh and close calls came a little too close too many. I wish we could just get on with the story a little faster. I’ll see this through. Just not right now.


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    In a world where killers hunt under the cover of darkness, Remi must rely on the partner he’s not sure he can trust to help him drag a murderer and Remi’s life into the light.

    Can’t pinpoint exactly what’s wrong with it, maybe just lacking the oomph, but I’m not riveted. From what I had read so far, it might getting pretty dark so I’m hanging on to that thought. On hold for now.


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    Luckily for both of us, this copycat doesn’t know who he’s dealing with. Game’s on, fake Sandman. You think you can mess with me? 

    I love Jackson and Leland. I’m always up for more adventures for them. I’m not expecting the ridiculousness to tone down, this is what the author does best after all, but yeah, the jokes were getting old. I’ll go where the mood takes me on this one.


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    Lucas Daniels knows that witches and vampires are real.

    Not expecting to not be feeling this but I did. For which I am surprised because those big reveals were rocking Lucas’ world. Oh my fickle heart, let’s not abandon Lucas and Konstantin just yet.


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    Will Frost get a chance to step up and be the kind of man Seth can respect or will a madman end any chance for a happily ever after?

    I actually read book 1, Richochet, and forgot to write a review for it. It was okay though not the same calliber as other action-suspense romances like the Nothing Special series. This second book okay too but wasn’t holding my attention that much. I doubt I’ll be returning to this.


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    What happens when opposite sides of the track collide?

    A jock+musician romance that was, well, it was fine. The parts I read were mostly about them fooling around campus. I lost motivation for this after reading the blurb of book 2 where I learned they were separated at the end of book one. I have no patience for that sort of thing.


    What books have you DNFed lately? Are you a mood reader too? Not as bad as me I hope. Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

    Related image
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    The Turner Series: The Soldier’s Scoundrel – Cat Sebastian

    A scoundrel who lives in the shadows

    Jack Turner grew up in the darkness of London’s slums, born into a life of crime and willing to do anything to keep his belly full and his siblings safe. Now he uses the tricks and schemes of the underworld to help those who need the kind of assistance only a scoundrel can provide. His distrust of the nobility runs deep and his services do not extend to the gorgeous high-born soldier who personifies everything Jack will never be.  

    A soldier untarnished by vice

    After the chaos of war, Oliver Rivington craves the safe predictability of a gentleman’s life-one that doesn’t include sparring with a ne’er-do-well who flouts the law at every turn. But Jack tempts Oliver like no other man has before. Soon his yearning for the unapologetic criminal is only matched by Jack’s pleasure in watching his genteel polish crumble every time they’re together.  

    Two men only meant for each other

    I first met Jack Turner as Georgie’s brother from The Lawrence Browne Affair and his sardonic comments to Georgie were really funny. Rewind to The Soldier’s Scoundrel where Jack first met Oliver who was in a state because he thought Jack was an unsavory character swindling his sister, Lady Charlotte.Their chemistry and banter, the way their relationship developed were a pleasure to watch as it unfolds. Tried as he might, the unsmiling, snarky Jack couldn’t help but be charmed by Oliver, gentleman, ex-soldier and expert curricle driver. The two endeavored to solve the mystery of Jack’s client’s missing letters with Oliver tagging along mainly because he was bored and wants to keep seeing Jack. Jack, for most parts, was in some sort of denial about his feelings and it was fun to see Oliver slowly win his heart. Oliver was made out to be kind of naive and inexperienced so it was very satisfying when he gets the upper hand.

    This Regency romance has all the right ingredients: well-developed and interesting characters, intrigues, mystery and class conflict. The enemies-to-lovers trope was done convincingly. The writing has that typical breezy CS trademark of humor, fluff and food. I confess, I put off reading this because of the terrible, terrible cover. I’ve always wondered why they usually feel compelled to put bare-chested men on the cover of most MM books when beautiful clothes on beautiful people would do the trick much more effectively, at least to me that is.

    Cases in point: these random male models as Oliver and Jack 

    image
    image

    Still, I regret not reading this sooner because this Cat Sebastian debut is every word as brilliant as the reviews say.   

    Rating: 

    5 Stars – absolutely perfect

    Soundtrack: I Will Possess Your Heart
    Artist: Death Cab for Cutie
    Album: Narrow Stairs

    (source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29875088-the-soldier-s-scoundrel)

  • book,  Uncategorized

    The Turner Series: The Soldier’s Scoundrel – Cat Sebastian

    A scoundrel who lives in the shadows

    Jack Turner grew up in the darkness of London’s slums, born into a life of crime and willing to do anything to keep his belly full and his siblings safe. Now he uses the tricks and schemes of the underworld to help those who need the kind of assistance only a scoundrel can provide. His distrust of the nobility runs deep and his services do not extend to the gorgeous high-born soldier who personifies everything Jack will never be.  

    A soldier untarnished by vice

    After the chaos of war, Oliver Rivington craves the safe predictability of a gentleman’s life-one that doesn’t include sparring with a ne’er-do-well who flouts the law at every turn. But Jack tempts Oliver like no other man has before. Soon his yearning for the unapologetic criminal is only matched by Jack’s pleasure in watching his genteel polish crumble every time they’re together.  

    Two men only meant for each other

    I first met Jack Turner as Georgie’s brother from The Lawrence Browne Affair and his sardonic comments to Georgie were really funny. Rewind to The Soldier’s Scoundrel where Jack first met Oliver who was in a state because he thought Jack was an unsavory character swindling his sister, Lady Charlotte.Their chemistry and banter, the way their relationship developed were a pleasure to watch as it unfolds. Tried as he might, the unsmiling, snarky Jack couldn’t help but be charmed by Oliver, gentleman, ex-soldier and expert curricle driver. The two endeavored to solve the mystery of Jack’s client’s missing letters with Oliver tagging along mainly because he was bored and wants to keep seeing Jack. Jack, for most parts, was in some sort of denial about his feelings and it was fun to see Oliver slowly win his heart. Oliver was made out to be kind of naive and inexperienced so it was very satisfying when he gets the upper hand.

    This Regency romance has all the right ingredients: well-developed and interesting characters, intrigues, mystery and class conflict. The enemies-to-lovers trope was done convincingly. The writing has that typical breezy CS trademark of humor, fluff and food. I confess, I put off reading this because of the terrible, terrible cover. I’ve always wondered why they usually feel compelled to put bare-chested men on the cover of most MM books when beautiful clothes on beautiful people would do the trick much more effectively, at least to me that is.

    Cases in point: these random male models as Oliver and Jack 

    image
    image

    Still, I regret not reading this sooner because this Cat Sebastian debut is every word as brilliant as the reviews say.   

    Rating: 

    5 Stars – absolutely perfect

    Soundtrack: I Will Possess Your Heart
    Artist: Death Cab for Cutie
    Album: Narrow Stairs

    (source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29875088-the-soldier-s-scoundrel)

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    My Top 10 Reads of 2017
    1. Green Men: Spectred IsleK.J. Charles
    2. His Quiet AgentAda Maria Soto
    3. Society of Gentlemen: A Gentleman’s PositionK.J. Charles
    4. Turner Series: The Ruin of a RakeCat Sebastian
    5. Turner Series: The Lawrence Browne AffairCat Sebastian
    6. Captive Prince: The Summer PalaceC.S. Pacat
    7. Witches of LondonEagle’s ShadowAleksandr Voinov & Jordan Taylor
    8. Kria: PrisonerMegan Derr
    9. Hexworld: HexslayerJordan L. Hawk
    10. The Weight of It All – N.R. Walker

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    Seducing the Sedgewicks: It Takes Two to Tumble – Cat Sebastian

    Some of Ben Sedgwick’s favorite things:

    Helping his poor parishioners
    Baby animals
    Shamelessly flirting with the handsome Captain Phillip Dacre

    After an unconventional upbringing, Ben is perfectly content with the quiet, predictable life of a country vicar, free of strife or turmoil. When he’s asked to look after an absent naval captain’s three wild children, he reluctantly agrees, but instantly falls for the hellions. And when their stern but gloriously handsome father arrives, Ben is tempted in ways that make him doubt everything.

    Some of Phillip Dacre’s favorite things:

    His ship
    People doing precisely as they’re told
    Touching the irresistible vicar at every opportunity

    Phillip can’t wait to leave England’s shores and be back on his ship, away from the grief that haunts him. But his children have driven off a succession of governesses and tutors and he must set things right. The unexpected presence of the cheerful, adorable vicar sets his world on its head and now he can’t seem to live without Ben’s winning smiles or devastating kisses.

    In the midst of runaway children, a plot to blackmail Ben’s family, and torturous nights of pleasure, Ben and Phillip must decide if a safe life is worth losing the one thing that makes them come alive.

    By now, people had already written many glowing reviews about the story of walking ray of sunshine Ben Sedgwick, also known as vicar of St. Aelred’s and the grumpy Captain Phillip Dacre, father of three incorrigible children. Borrowing some ideas from the Sound of Music, this book is as warm as the musical and as bright and happy as summer. 

    Everybody in this book, from the children, Ned, Jamie and Peggy, to the cook, Mrs. Morris, to the supposed villain Easterbrook were all well-rounded, likable characters.

    Ben being a man of the cloth, the author could have gone the angsty religion vs sexuality route. Fortunately it was not the focus but it was still touched upon in a very sensible way. The writing was in that smooth, upbeat Cat Sebastian style with liberal touches of cute and fluff all over it. However, I think the ending was a bit abrupt and needs an epilogue. They have only been together for the duration of summer and it would have been great if we could see their life together in the coming seasons (maybe in the coming books? Book two is Hartley, Ben’s younger brother.). Overall, one of the best historical romance this year and a great start to a new series.

    Rating:
    4.5 – perfection is only half a step away

    (source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35230501-it-takes-two-to-tumble)

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    The Turner Series: The Ruin of a Rake – Cat Sebastian

    Rogue. Libertine. Rake. Lord Courtenay has been called many things and has never much cared. But after the publication of a salacious novel supposedly based on his exploits, he finds himself shunned from society. Unable to see his nephew, he is willing to do anything to improve his reputation, even if that means spending time with the most proper man in London.

    Julian Medlock has spent years becoming the epitome of correct behavior. As far as he cares, if Courtenay finds himself in hot water, it’s his own fault for behaving so badly—and being so blasted irresistible. But when Julian’s sister asks him to rehabilitate Courtenay’s image, Julian is forced to spend time with the man he loathes—and lusts after—most.

    As Courtenay begins to yearn for a love he fears he doesn’t deserve, Julian starts to understand how desire can drive a man to abandon all sense of propriety. But he has secrets he’s determined to keep, because if the truth came out, it would ruin everyone he loves. Together, they must decide what they’re willing to risk for love.

    I don’t know how Cat Sebastian did it but she did it! She set the bar high in The Lawrence Browne Affair but this one exceeded my expectations. Julian is a peevish math genius who thought he was immune to feelings and Courtney was a reformed scoundrel blessed with too much good looks and little financial sense. I just love the two of them together, Julian being in charge and going all business-like even in the heat of the moment and Courtney letting him get his way.  And whatever buns and pastry Courtney is feeding Julian, I need to get me some of those.

    The side story about Ned and Eleanor Standish was a bonus. I’m glad they got their HEA. The author wrap it up nicely with the summer tea party at the ending. 

    Can we please have a book on Simon and Lady Montbray’s son?

    Rating:

    5 Stars – absolutely perfect

    (source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32600210-the-ruin-of-a-rake)