Review of “A Wicked Way to Win an Earl” by Anna Bradley

A Wicked Way to Win An EarlI don’t usually read authors I’ve never heard of before because I don’t like spending my money on an unknown quantity.  Netgalley had made it much easier for me to try someone new because I’m able to get free copies of the books from the publishers.  Obviously, they aren’t always formatted in a way that is pleasing to the eye and in some instances it is so bad that I can’t continue reading it.  The reason I mention all of this is that I never would have picked up A Wicked Way to Win an Earl if I came across it in my local CVS or on Amazon.  Not only is she a new-to-me author, but she is a new author (as in this is her debut novel).  That is nothing against new authors; I hope to be one someday, but I need to watch my money.  I’ve been out of work since June and I just don’t have the money to buy books by untested authors.  This is one instance that not buying the book would be a shame.

Delia Somerset and her sister are invited to attend a house party given by the Earl of Carlysle.  Despite her reservations, she decides to go, hoping it would raise her sister’s spirits.  What she doesn’t expect is to enter into a game of flirtation with the Earl himself.

Alec Sutherland, Earl of Carlysle, meets Delia at the most inopportune time and as soon as he finds out who she is, he is determined to stop her from marrying his younger brother because of a scandal involving both of their families.  Unfortunately, his plan to ruin her leads to genuine feelings and he doesn’t know what to do about that.

I enjoyed this book, although it took me much longer than it should have to finish it.  The reason: Alec was a bit of an ass and I couldn’t stand him for a big chunk of the book.  He walks the fine line between Alpha and Alphole.  For about 60% of the book, he convinces himself that the reason he does not want Delia to marry his brother was because of the scandal and that the best way to do that was to ruin Delia’s reputation.  It is at roughly the 60% mark that he realizes that he doesn’t want to hurt her in that way.  He still hasn’t quite admitted to himself his own feelings, but he decides to stop what he’s doing.

Other than my issue with Alec’s severe alpha tendencies, I thought this book was rather well written.  Ms. Bradley has the type of voice that pulls the reader in and doesn’t let them go until the very last sentence.  This is a hard thing to pull off and I applaud her ability to do so.

I also really liked Delia.  She has the perfect amount of sassy sarcasm to please this former New Yorker, who considers herself quite fluent in that language.  She is also an extremely independent person and knows what she wants, doing whatever it takes to get it.  Just how far she goes was a bit surprising, considering the time when this book takes place (1811–so the very early Regency Period).  She definitely does some things that wouldn’t have been wise for a woman of her station at that time period to do, but you’re able to overlook that because you know that her Happily Ever After would happen simply because of her actions.

This is the first book in a new Regency series involving the Somersets and the Sutherlands and it came out early last month.  The next book, involving Lily and Robyn (Delia’s sister and Alec’s brother) is set to be released in August and I will be reading it whether I get an ARC through Netgalley or not.

5 Stars


Video of the Day–Breaking 50k



December 1st and I’m a winner–or a champion, if you like.  A month ago, I made the commitment to write a novel (or a good chunk of a novel, anyway) in 30 days.  Today, I can proudly say that I did it.  For those in the NaNoWriMo community, this is called winning.

To those that didn’t make it this year, then you’ll just have to rock it next year (or the year after that).   Don’t give up.  If anything, you’ve started down the path to writing superstardom.  For me, writing is a part of life, otherwise this blog wouldn’t exist.  My 50k represents about a half of what I want the full novel to be and I plan on continuing it.  This time, I will take it all the way to the finish line.

Since I spent most of last month writing for NaNo and not on here, I’ve decided to give you, my readers, a glimpse into my story.  The scene below is loosely based on my 23rd birthday and if any of my friends that were there that night are reading this, they’ll recognize some of what is in the scene.  At this point in the narrative, my heroine has lost her ability to see ghosts and has been told that in order to get it back she needs to relax (she was exposed to too many ghosts at one time and it has overstimulated her brain).  In order to follow her doctor’s orders, she and my hero have decided to go out for some (bad) karaoke.  Part of this scene was inspired by my cousin, Lisa, who suggested having them sing Build Me Up Buttercup as we did when we went to karaoke.

I hope you enjoy the scene (be aware that the purpose of NaNo is not to edit, so there may be some spelling and grammatical errors)!


Danny glanced over at Allie.  She was watching the couple singing up on stage.  He wasn’t sure what the song was, but that was because the girls singing were tone deaf and their voices were so bad that even if they were singing his favorite song, he wouldn’t have known what it was.

He reached for his glass and found that it was completely empty.  When had that happened?  He hadn’t planned on drinking, but then Allie came out of her bedroom wearing the tightest pair of jeans and a low cut red sweater that hugged her breasts in the most alluring way.  The only way he’d be able to keep his hands off of her was if he was too drunk to touch her.  Since he was the most embarassing light weight known to man, it wouldn’t take all that much to tip him over the edge.  His head was already swimming.

The couple on stage finished their song and the KJ called up the next singer.  As soon as the music started playing, Danny was filled with dread.  Someone was seriously attempting to sing Let It Go at karaoke.  This was not going to be pretty.  From the look on Allie’s face, he knew she agreed with him.

“Who the hell thought a karaoke version of this song was a good idea?”

“A very optimistic person,” she replied.

As soon as the woman opened her mouth, everyone knew that whoever decided it should be available for karaoke was way too optimistic of a person and should be forced to listen to this performance over and over again until the day they died a hopefully painful death.

“There’s not enough scotch in the world for me to be able to block this shit out.”

“You’re not drinking scotch.”

“I know, but scotch is much harder than my Sex on the Beach and by saying that there’s not enough scotch, then you have to admit that there aren’t enough sexes on the beach.  Or is it sex on the beaches.  No, that sounds dirty.”

“Allie you sound drunk.”

“Nah, I get philosophical when I’m drunk.”

“Oh, my mistake.”

She was definitely drunk.  He didn’t do much drinking, but he knew she was drunk.  Sober people didn’t fall off of stools and Allie was about to fall off of hers.  He reached out and steadied her.


Finally, Ms. Let It Go left the stage and Danny’s ears stopped bleeding.  He only hoped that the next singer would be better.  He would never get up there himself.  Singing.  In front of all these people.  Granted, the only person here that he knew was Allie, but still.  He was not a public speaking—or singing—type of person.

The music started and he heard a familiar song, one he hadn’t heard since he was a kid, listening to CBS FM with his mom.  Build Me Up, Buttercup.  He smiled.  It was a cute song.  He turned his head to mention it to Allie and realized that she wasn’t there.  He looked around before his gaze settled on the stage and there she was.  Her brown hair falling into her eyes, the purple streak almost completely gone.  She held the mic in her hand and as the words flashed on the screen began to sing.  And his ears began to bleed.  Again.  She was awful.  That settled it.  She was most definitely drunk.  From what he’d seen of her over the last week, he doubted that she would get up there and sound like that if she was completely sober.  He really hoped she wouldn’t ask him how she sounded when she was done.  He was not a good liar and he could not tell her the truth.

As the song ended and she made her way back to the table, there was a smattering of unenthusiastic applause.  This didn’t seem to bother Allie, which made Danny’s stomach churn.  She was going to ask him.  He knew it.

“How’d I do?”

“Um.  You were—uh.  You were original.”

That was true.  He’d never heard anyone sound like a couple of cats fighting off rabid raccoons.

She laughed.  “Original, huh?  I’ve never heard that one before.”


“You didn’t think I was unaware at how bad I sound, did you?”

“You—you knew?”

“Of course I knew.  I have no delusions as to my musical ability.”

“Then, why—“

“Why’d I ask?  You had this look on your face—kind of a cross between total abject terror and panic at having to face me.  It was cute.”

“Cute?”  He nearly choked.  There were a few things that a guy did not want to be called—a pussy, a fag, and cute.  Definitely not cute.  Rugged.  Manly.  Not cute.  Never cute.

“Oh, you’re not one of those guys that objects to effeminate modifiers, are you?”

“Is there something wrong with that?”


“Please.  As if you wouldn’t be upset if I called you a bitch.”

“That’s totally different.  Calling someone cute isn’t an insult.  When you call a woman a bitch, you’re attempting to put her in her place.  You never call another man a bitch.  You wouldn’t call Donald Trump a bitch because he’s aggressive in his ignorance—stupid and bigoted, maybe, but not bitch.  Hilary Clinton on the other hand, has many people throwing that word at her because she’s a strong, capable woman, who doesn’t take shit from anyone.  She’s the smarter, less racist version of Trump, but all those babies in the Republican party can see is a bitch.”

“Wow.  You’re especially verbose when you’re drunk.”

“I told you, I’m not drunk.”

“So, you normally get up in front of a crowd of people and sing atrociously bad karaoke?”


“What?  You admitted to being bad.”

“Doesn’t mean I like to hear it.”  She paused to get up.  “Let’s go.”


“Are you deaf all of a sudden?  Let’s go.”

“We haven’t paid yet.”

“I have a tab with this place.  It’s fine.”

Video of the Day–Gene and Jerry

I was working on my NaNoNovel today and at one point, I had my heroine comparing her hero to Gene Kelly, which got me thinking about Gene Kelly movies and dances.  I’ve never seen Anchors Aweigh, but I know this scene.  I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for him to dance with a cartoon character, having to pretend that someone was there with him while doing that dance.

Here’s the scene from my NaNoNovel that inspired this post (after this discussion, they end up back at her apartment, binging on Jessica Jones and then watching Captain America: Winter Soldier):

“So, what do you normally do on a day like today?”
“What do you mean by ‘a day like today’?”
“You know, a day when you don’t have anything to do. When you can do whatever you want and no one can tell you not to.”
“Oh, well. I don’t have many of those days, especially since my job involves a lot of traveling, so even if I’m not actively investigating a case, I’m either in a car or on a plane or a train, but when I do have a day where I don’t have to do anything more strenuous that pick up the remote, I tend to sit around in my pajamas, order some subpar pizza—nothing quite compares to New York City pizza—or Chinese, depending on my mood, and binge something on Netflix.”
“What types of things do you binge? Me, I’m more of a video game marathon guy.”
She laughed. Of course he was.
“Like the food, it depends on my mood. Once, I watched nothing but Gene Kelly musicals—you remind me of him, by the way. Another time, I went for a Buffy-thon.”
“I remind you of an old time song and dance man?”
“Not in looks. He was more compact than you are, but in how athletic he was without actually looking like he was. I don’t know anyone who has your type of stamina, but if I had to guess, I’d say he probably came really close.”
“Athletic? Me?”
“You own a gym. You were the school’s quarterback all through high school. Plus, some of those moves last night… Of course you’re athletic.”
“I barely use anything in my gym, the quarterback thing was mostly luck, but I’m glad you had fun last night. I’m thinking we could do a replay tonight,” he said, with what sure as hell looked like a twinkle in his eye.
“Hmm. I think we’ll have to see about that.”

Video of the Day–Look to the Future

If you watched the parade yesterday, you probably heard Train cover this song and if you’re American (which if you were watching the parade you probably are), you most likely aren’t familiar with this song.  It is Merry Xmas Everybody by Slade and the first time I heard it was in Doctor Who‘s Christmas Invasion.  I believe it is in every single Christmas special that they’ve made since the show returned in 2005.

I chose this as today’s video for two reasons.  First, now that Thanksgiving is over the Christmas season has officially begun and while I’m no longer religious (for reasons that I won’t get into on here), I still love Christmas music, books, and movies.  The second reason is that I like its optimistic message.  The chorus implores us to “look to the future now. It’s only just begun.”  From what I understand, the song was written during a particularly turbulent time in the 1970’s and the band wanted to remind everyone that it gets better.  That is a sentiment that is apt even today.  So many people, all over the world, are struggling and we need to remember that all of it is temporary.

Video of the Day–Togetherness


Thanksgiving.  A day of giving thanks for the ones you love.  Or not.  In my family, Thanksgiving (and most holidays that involve big get togethers) is about proving your right about something while shouting for someone to pass the mashed potatoes.  It actually got so bad that my aunt had to insist on specific rules in regards to topics of conversation.  We were not allowed to talk about religion, politics, work, school, or pretty much anything that could possibly result in a loud argument.  Thankfully (hahaha), we never got so loud that the neighbors had to call the police on us.

When choosing today’s video of the day, I wanted something that symbolizes what Thanksgiving is supposed to be about, so I decided on a scene from my favorite episode of Dawson’s Creek–A Weekend in the Country.  This is not a Thanksgiving episode, but it is all about being there for the ones you love and spending time together.  The plot of the episode involves the opening of Joey and Bessie’s B&B.  Pacey, trying to help the sisters, invites a travel writer to the B&B, but doesn’t tell them until he’s already done it.  The problem is that they have no guests at the inn and the breakfast part of Bed and Breakfast wasn’t exactly edible, so Pacey gets their friends to pretend to be guests for the weekend.  The best part of the episode is when they’re all sitting around the fire and talking about their favorite scents and the memories they evoke.

I tried to get just that scene, but it wasn’t online anywhere, so the above video is the entire episode, courtesy of Daily Motion.  If you want to skip to that scene, start the video at the 24 minute mark, but I suggest also catching the scene after it where they dance in the kitchen (an homage to The Big Chill because there has to be a movie reference in an episode of Dawson’s Creek).

I just want to wish everyone reading this a very Happy Thanksgiving because I am thankful for all of you.  Without you reading this, there wouldn’t be a point to me sitting here right now.   Also, as you’re gathered around your turkeys or lasagnas (if you’re Italian like me), please spend a moment being grateful for the fact that the Native Americans didn’t try to build a wall or spread fear of the evil white man with their one god and weird buckles on everything because if they did, we’d be in a very different place–namely, whichever European countries we came from originally.

Video of the Day–Love in the Afternoon

It seems this is a week for soap weddings on this blog.  I hadn’t planned on posting this video today, but when my mom called me yesterday with the news of David Canary’s passing at the age of 77, I felt compelled to write this post.

For those that don’t know who that is, Canary played twins Adam and Stuart Chandler on All My Children starting in 1983 and although he left the show briefly in 2010 because of his failing health, he reprised both roles when the show ended in 2011 (despite the fact that Stuart had been killed off prior to Canary’s departure–as a thanks to the fans, the writers decided to bring back many of the “dead” characters for the end of the series and as Stuart had long been considered the heart of Pine Valley, he was central to the storyline).

If I were to be completely honest, I’d have to admit that All My Children was not my favorite soap.  I just fell into watching it after getting into General Hospital back in 1995, so I don’t recall as many storylines as I do for GH.  Stuart and Marion’s romance is the exception.  I remember watching it when it aired on Valentine’s Day in 1999.  It (and all the soaps) was a part of ABC’s cross-promotion of its made for television movie/mini-series–an adaptation of a Stephen King book, called The Storm of the Century–so, the writers had to find a way to incorporate a blizzard into the episode.  I loved the idea of the two of them showing up in a horse drawn carriage.  It was all so romantic, but not as romantic as Stuart serenading Marion during the ceremony.  This is today’s video.


One last comment–if you were paying attention to Marion’s vows and are having trouble remembering the whole mistaken identity thing, here’s a quick explanation:

Marion’s daughter, Liza, was involved with Adam and Marion was certain that Adam couldn’t possibly be in love with Liza, so she set out to seduce him into her bed.  Instead of finding Adam, she found Stuart and because she didn’t let him speak, she didn’t know until after the fact that he wasn’t Adam, but his goodhearted twin brother.

RIP Mr. Canary.  You will be missed.

Review of “The Lady Who Lived Again” By Thomasine Rappold

The Lady Who Lived AgainI’m not sure what I was expecting when I requested The Lady Who Lived Again, but I am sure that I did not get it, whatever it was.  Don’t get me wrong; it isn’t a bad book.  I’m just confused as to what it is.  At times, it feels like it wants to be a paranormal and at others a straight historical romance, so it is hard to actually grade it as either.

Madeline Sutter is trying to put her past behind her, but the people of Misty Lake, New York aren’t making it easy for her.  They believe that she’s cursed because she appeared to have been resurrected after nearly dying in an accident–the same accident that killed her closest friends.  For the most part, she has managed to stay away from everyone in town, but with her best friend’s wedding approaching, she is thrust into the middle of everything.

Enter Dr. Jace Merrick.  He’s new to Misty Lake and curious about the beautiful woman he ran into in the woods.  Despite not knowing Maddie very well, he agrees to be her fake fiancé and in return she has to tell him about how she recovered from an injury that should have caused her a lifetime of pain.  The problem?  Maddie has a secret.  She has the ability to heal herself and others.  As she finds herself falling in love with him, she has to figure out whether or not she can trust him with the biggest secret she has.

To be honest, I do not think that Ms. Rappolds knew what she wanted to write.  There was absolutely no reason to include the paranormal aspect of the novel.  It was obviously supposed to serve as the conflict between Jace and Maddie, but it wasn’t necessary.  The only conflict that was needed to keep them apart was Jace’s fear of becoming his father.  Yes, an aspect of this was the fact that his father fell prey to faith healers and it cost him his reputation as a doctor, but once Jace knows the truth about Maddie, this is never even brought up–it was all about Jace’s hurt feelings because Maddie hadn’t told him what she could do.

The other issue I had was that Maddie’s abilities were inconsistent.  She can heal one person, but not another.  It didn’t make sense because there was no explanation given for it.  Paranormal elements in books like this need to be explained.  World building is a thing for a reason.  It cannot be skipped.

My final issue is with the way the entire town treats Maddie like a pariah simply because one overblown religious nut wanted her to be one.  Maddie had very few people in her corner and had to stand up to a town full of bigots and religious fanatics.  If I was her, I’d have been out of there as fast as my feet could carry me.  I get that she considered Misty Lake her home and she felt that she shouldn’t have to leave it because of a few people’s ignorance, but when that ignorance is an infection, festering on her life, she shouldn’t have stayed.  There was absolutely no reason for her to subject herself to that kind of torture.

None of this isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy the book.  I liked the chemistry between Maddie and Jace as well as the fact that Maddie didn’t let Victorian sensibilities get in the way of what she wanted, namely a relationship with Jace on her terms.

If this was a straight historical romance, I would have liked it more.  I have no problem with paranormals and am even writing one as my Nano project, but when the paranormal aspects are inconsistent and unnecessary, it doesn’t work.

2.5 Stars

The Lady Who Lived Again  is currently available for pre-order and will be released on December 8th.


Video of the Day–Her Fake Fiancé

I’m in the middle of reading The Woman Who Lived Again by Thomasine Rappold (available December 8th), which is about a woman who convinces a virtual stranger to pretend to be her fiancé and escort her to a friend’s wedding because she can’t face her ex and his new bride-to-be without having someone on her arm.  Obviously, since this is a romance novel, they go from being fake engaged to falling in love with each other.  As I started reading it, I kept thinking about Mac and Felecia from General Hospital.  They did the whole fake fiancé thing back in 1998.  I was still 11 when those episodes aired, but I loved the whole concept.

Today’s video of the day is from their wedding (from 1998 not 2013 when they remarried after the whole Frisco fiasco at the Nurse’s Ball).  One of the things I loved about that storyline was that it was supposed to be a double wedding (with Lucy and Kevin) and Mac and Felecia were going to call theirs off before actually going through with the ceremony.  In the end, there was only one set of “I do’s” said (In the middle of the ceremony, it came out that Lucy had caused Serena’s accident by siphoning gas from Eve’s car because she was jealous of Eve and Scotty’s relationship–Lucy would eventually marry Scotty despite maiming his daughter and Eve would marry Kevin before they all divorced and Lucy somehow ended up with Kevin all over again).


For any of my readers that are old school GH fans, look carefully and you’ll see original recipe Jerry Jacks (before he was a hostage taking, town poisoning sociopath played by Sebastian Roche) as well as V, who I think just disappeared one day.  I really liked her and her role in the Ned/Alexis/Jax/Chloe debacle in 1999.  I miss old school GH–back before Guza ruined every single woman not named Carly or Sam and bowed down to the alter that was The Sopranos.

All you Elizabeth haters: Guza’s the reason she’s the way she is.  Before he became head writer in 2000, she was a much different character.  Unfortunately, the character assassination apparently continued under Carlivati.  Such a shame.

Video of the Day–Old Movies Get Funked Up

I am not a fan of Uptown Funk.  The song annoys the hell out of me–more than almost any other song (the exception being The Way by Fastball).  This video, however, is a ton of fun.  I have no idea why all those dances sync up so perfectly, but seeing Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, et al dancing to Uptown Funk was the coolest thing I saw today.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Video of the Day–Everyone Needs a Theme Song

In His New Jam music plays a big part of the book and for the heroine, Sydney, one song in particular represented her: Bad Reputation by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.  This was her go to song on her drums and I feel as if it was her theme song.  I believe that everyone should have one of those–mine is Bitch by Meredith Brooks.

Because this was a big part of Sydney’s story, it is today’s video of the day.