Slightly Noble by Lilly Gayle

Oh my God this book was just what I needed!! I have sort of been in a contemporary romance bubble for a while, so I’ve been craving a really good historical romance novel. This one definitely delivered. I mean, it’s got everything you need for a great historical read: sullied reputations, a sexy sea-captain, and discovering pleasure in oh so many wonderful ways.

Book Synopsis:

slightly nobleAmerican privateer, Captain Jack isn’t really an American, but heir to a viscountcy. When his father dies, he leaves everything not entailed with the estate to his worthless cousin. Jack’s only hope of inheriting his mother’s ancestral home and honoring her dying wish is to marry and produce an heir before his thirty-fifth birthday—in five months. And he doesn’t have a single prospect.

Pregnant and unwed, Abigail Halsey is sent by her father to an Anglican convent until he can find a family to adopt his grandchild or a husband for his daughter. Abby has other plans, but they go awry when she goes into labor early and her rescuer, a pirate captain turned lord, insists on marrying her.

Is Jack too much like his jealous, unforgiving father? Can Abby overcome her fear of men and have a real marriage? Or will she never be anything more than the unwanted wife of a Slightly Noble Viscount?

My Review:

I absolutely LOVED the characters in this book. Jack and Abby were two extremely complex and interesting lead characters, mainly due to their difficulty of trusting others because of their respective pasts. Abby thought she had fallen in love with a respected member of society, but it turns out he was engaged, and after repeatedly forcing himself on her Abby ends up pregnant and alone. Jack on the other hand was sent to America as a young boy with his mother because his father assumed Jack wasn’t actually his son. Gosh, it’s almost like we need a 19th century version of Jerry Springer to get some paternity tests up in here! Although, on second thought I’d probably prefer Dr. Phil. Gotta love the mustache.

Anyway, when Jack and Abby first meet they are understandably wary of each other’s intentions. Abby fears that Jack will exploit her father’s riches in order to pay for his crumbling estate, or send her and the child away to a country home as soon as they are married. In turn, when Jack first stumbles across Abby giving birth in the back of a carriage, it’s almost as if the answer to his prayers has been dropped in the middle of the road. But is she just another wanton woman hoping to climb the social ladder to wealth? After spending time with each other they both feel they can lean on one another, but also fear to do so. Love it!! They are both so dynamic, and although you want them to learn to love each other, you also understand why they are so hesitant to let their hearts lead their actions.

I’d recently taken a break from historical romances, mainly because every single one I read had the same basic plot. There’s a delicate flower of a leading lady who is usually caught in a compromising situation with a devilish rake at a ball of some kind, and because of this they are forced to marry. They usually hate each other at first, but then he shows her how to have some fun in the bedroom, so they fall in love and live happily ever after. This book had soooo much more depth than that. You always hear in historical romances about two people marrying who are basically strangers, but this book takes that notion an entire step further. They have literally never even heard of each other, and yet they marry as a matter of convenience after only a few hours of meeting. Although Abby and her child can solve all of Jack’s problems in regards to his inheritance, he still feels this undeniable urge to protect Abby, and what quickly becomes his newborn child.

I assume the title Slightly Noble has to do with Jack’s title in that although he’s a viscount he’s still a ship’s captain, or that Abby was accepted by society but still not entirely part of it. Well, I interpreted it to have another meaning entirely in that they are only slightly noble because they have some not so noble thoughts as to what they want to do with each other’s bodies. Hello sexy time! Now, we are reading a historical romance here, so you know what that means. Usually, we are dealing more with sexual tension than the deed itself. As these two start to warm up to each other, and find a mutual trust, their lust starts warming up as well. Because of Abby’s complicated past in regards to sex, Jack vows that he won’t touch her until she wants him to. Oh, I just adore when a book has this element. It’s a slightly less cringe-worthy form of begging in my opinion. There is a lot of lead up to the moment when their passion finally explodes into a physical expression of intimacy (aka they have sex), and it’s a pretty hot and heavy scene. Throughout the whole book, not only do they slowly start to become more sexually aware of each other, but they also start to fall in love, which is just adorable because neither one really expected it to happen.

I thought this book would mainly be about our two main characters slowly falling in love, and him teaching her how sex can be enjoyable. But hello major plot twist at the end! There were hints that some intrigue was happening on the sidelines, but it was pretty hidden until the very end when things take an interesting turn. Granted, this twist was kind of morbid and depressing, but it did add an element of suspense that I just wasn’t expecting. The author also did an amazing job of setting the scene for us by describing the dangers and stresses related to being an unwed mother in 19th century English society. I feel that most historical romances involve a respectable virgin female lead, or perhaps a widow, so to feature a woman who would have been a disgrace to society was a very unique feature that really set this book apart for me. And in an amazingly good way.

*An ARC was provided for an open and honest review*

Series: Not really, but sort of. There is another book called Slightly Tarnished which is more of an unrelated prequel to this book, but it deals with a friend of Jack’s and how he met his own wife. Personally, I would love to read a sequel which deals with Jack’s other friend, Quentin, and maybe how he moves on to find love after having lost his wife and child years ago.

Should you read it? Yes! It’s a really good historical romance read, and yet sort of outside the box when it comes to that genre. Very unique.

Smut Level: Not too smutty, although that’s not to say sex is absent from this book. Jack and Abby definitely desire each other, and their first love scene is pretty descriptive

Get it on Amazon: This book just came out today, February 27th, so click here to get a copy!

Sizzle by Sheridan Kesselman

Note to self: whenever I come across a book where the first sentence is, “I am a sociopath”, I need to shut my Kindle, put it down on the nearest flat surface, and walk away slowly. Scratch that, I need to run like a bat out of hell in the other direction. Believe it or not, this is now the second book I’ve encountered with that damning first sentence. I hated the first book that used it, and I must say I really, really, really…really didn’t like this one either.

Boy is that an introductory paragraph! Despite how this review started I am going to add a very important disclaimer right here: if you are really interested in reading about the darker psychological aspects of relationships, specifically related to sexual dysfunction and family issues, well then get in line because this book will be right up your alley. If you’re a psychology major you’ll probably find it fascinating, and could write a term paper about the lead character. You should also just ignore the rest of this review. Although please do come back again because I love having you around. On the other hand, if you are looking for a romance between two people who fall in love with all their hearts, then this book definitely isn’t for you. Personally, I had three main issues with this book, which I will proceed to outline below.

1. The Plot

sizzleBasically, there wasn’t one. The synopsis reveals that Mackenzie Stark is a woman who travels halfway around the world to sleep with Damian, a man half her age. He wants her, she wants him, you get the picture. After spending a few days with him which culminates in an intense night of passion, she returns home to start a journal of her life at her therapist’s request. Now I’ll admit, the first 20 pages or so of this book were interesting by discussing her flight to Europe to be with Damian. However, just when we were getting to the good part between the two of them she switches to talk about her “life”, which is basically just a retelling of sexual conquest after sexual conquest. That’s it. There is no real story being told. She literally goes from one man to the next. We don’t find out how all of these conquests led her to seduce Damian. He’s pretty much just another conquest like all the rest of them. At the beginning of the book, Mackenzie even reveals that she is divorced from her husband, and has a daughter, yet nowhere in this journal of her life does she ever mention meeting her husband, getting married, or having a child. Based on this journal, her life is literally just about sex, and a shitty relationship with her drunken mother. Don’t get me wrong, I obviously love reading books that contain an element of sex. Hell, just read any one of my other book reviews. But this book is just sex with no real feelings, let alone love, involved. That is something I don’t care to read about.

2. The Lack of Organization

Good God in Heaven this was the most frustrating aspect of the book for me. So, Mackenzie starts her journal with a discussion of how she met Damian whilst (I love using that word) flying to Europe to visit her daughter. Then she skips ahead a year to when she flies over again just to meet up with him. Right in the middle of her seduction of the young lad she backpedals to her first sexual experience, which happened to be fantasizing about gripping another boy’s hair. Hair fetish, who knew? She then proceeds into a ridiculously long dialogue detailing all of her other sexual escapades with pretty much everyone in the state of California. Then she jumps ahead to Damian for a page and half only to go back in time again for another 50 pages, and then we get another Damian paragraph before going back further in time once again to a time that was before the first time we went back in time. Are you getting frustrated just with my explanation of this? Mackenzie describes a lot of her life around the age of 15, and slowly moves forward in a linear path in age, but just when you think we are getting somewhere she goes back again to another sexual episode years before. For crying out loud, keep to a timeline! And poor Damian. He’s the focus of the first 30 pages, as well as the synopsis of the book, but then he only gets brief mentions here and there, only to completely disappear from the story for the last half of the novel. It’s only in the last few pages that he makes a comeback to have sex with Mackenzie. Then they both go their separate ways, seemingly without any intention of meeting again. This disorganization made the book so extremely difficult to follow because I could never keep straight if she was in high school or college, who she had already slept with, and where the hell Damian was supposed to fit into all this mess.

3. Mackenzie

Mackenzie was definitely not a fun character to read about, especially for 340 pages. Let me put it to you this way. When I get home after a long day of work, I like to curl up in bed with a nice romance novel so that I can live in a dream world where there are nothing but happy endings and true love. Yeah, I realize that’s delusional, but what can I say? I love reading about the fairytale. I do not however like reading about a woman who had her first sexual awakening at the age of 6, how she later went on to have sex with her first cousin, had affairs with married men but felt no remorse whatsoever, 12-year-olds humping like rabbits, or how she took part in a sex show with yet another cousin in front of a live audience. That’s right. ANOTHER cousin! Not just one, but a second one. Sure, this one was a distant cousin, but still! Too icky for my tastes. I remember one scene in particular (although I can’t remember which cousin it was with, Yuck!) where Mackenzie and her cousin are flirting like mad while her parents are in the other room, and just before they enter she tries to think of a way to steer the conversation to a more “cousinly” topic. Maybe you should talk about the fact that you two are related and how messed up it would be were you to ever have children!! Ok, I need to regroup. Anyway, what I really didn’t like about Mackenzie was that she made it seem like this whole journal was a build up to sleeping with Damian, but once she finally manages to successfully seduce him and have sex it still seems like she has no real feelings for him. Again, he’s just another conquest. So what was the point of this whole journal in the first place?

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: No.

Should you read it? If you are looking for romance, hell to the no. However, the author has been a practicing psychotherapist for many years, with a focus in family issues and sexual dysfunction, so I’m sure this book could be an excellent study of that topic. It just isn’t something I want to read in my spare time.

Smut Level: Honestly, pretty disturbing. I had to stop reading at 50% and read another book before coming back to finish this one. There are threesomes, kind of a foursome, cousin sex, affairs, being tied up, being tied down, getting turned on when a guy shoots someone else, and pretty much everything else in between.

Find it on Amazon: Click Here