Tag Archives: Julie Anne Long

My Favourite/Favorite Romance Novel Heroes and Heroines

There are books and novellas that I recommend. There are novels I loathed.

Inspired by a commenter’s request, these are my favourite romance novel heroes and heroines, and I have a separate post for my couples. Ranking them would take too long, so I haven’t.

If you’re uncertain, I suggest leaning towards the couples list for a starting point.

Favourite Heroes

Ashley, Jennifer Many Sins of Lord Cameron  – GUILTY PLEASURE
Ashley, Jennifer The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie
Balogh, Mary Only Enchanting
Bowen, Sarina The Understatement of the Year M/M clarification: Graham
Callihan, Kristen The Game Plan
Dare, Tessa Three Nights with a Scoundrel
Dare, Tessa A Week to Be Wicked
Enoch, Suzanne The Rake
Florand, Laura The Chocolate Touch
Florand, Laura The Chocolate Temptation
Gabaldon, Diana Outlander  OBVIOUSLY, plus the series
Kelly, Carla Libby’s London Merchant
Kelly, Carla The Surgeon’s Lady
Kleypas, Lisa Where Dreams Begin
Kleypas, Lisa Lady Sophia’s Lover
Kleypas, Lisa Secrets of a Summer Night – Top 5 Hero
Kleypas, Lisa The Devil in Winter 
Kleypas, Lisa Tempt Me at Twilight  TWO REVIEWS
Kleypas, Lisa Smooth Talking Stranger
Lauren, Christina Wicked Sexy Liar
Linden, Caroline Blame It on Bath
Long, Julie Anne What I Did for a Duke  CLASSIC
Milan, Courtney Unveiled – I’d marry him.
Milan, Courtney Unraveled FAVE
Milan, Courtney A Kiss for Midwinter  CLASSIC
Quinn, Julia An Offer from a Gentleman
Zapata, Mariana Kulti 

My Favourite Heroines

Bryce, Megan To Tame a Dragon
Chase, Loretta Lord of Scoundrels  CLASSIC
Dare, Tessa One Dance with a Duke
Florand, Laura The Chocolate Touch
Gabaldon, Diana Outlander  OBVIOUSLY, plus the series
Heyer, Georgette Venetia
Jenkins, Beverly Indigo She’s amazing.
Kleypas, Lisa The Devil in Winter 
Kleypas, Lisa Scandal in the Spring 
Kleypas, Lisa Mine till Midnight – I’d marry her.
Lauren, Christina Beautiful Player
Milan, Courtney This Wicked Gift
Milan, Courtney The Countess Conspiracy
Milan, Courtney The Suffragette ScandalI want to be her.
Quinn, Julia Romancing Mr. Bridgerton 
Quinn, Julia It’s In His Kiss
Reid, Penny Neanderthal Seeks Human
Thorne, Sally The Hating Game CLASSIC

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful or my  streamlined recommendations list.

Florand

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My Favourite/Favorite Romance Novel Couples

There are books and novellas that I recommend. There are novels I loathed.

This list is my favourite romance novel couples and there is a separate one for my favourite heroes and heroines as individual characters. If I put them in order, I’d never get this list published, so they aren’t.

If you’re uncertain, I suggest leaning towards the couples list for a starting point.

Balogh, Mary Slightly Dangerous CLASSIC
Bowen, Sarina Blonde Date novella  CLASSIC
Bowen, Sarina and Elle Kennedy Him
Bryce, Megan To Tame a Dragon
Chase, Loretta Dukes Prefer Blondes  – LOVE THEM
Cole, Kresley Dark Desires After Duska guilty pleasure THUNDER SEX™!
Dare, Tessa One Dance with a Duke
Dare, Tessa Any Duchess Will Do
Duran, Meredith Fool Me Twice
Florand, Laura All’s Fair in Love and Chocolate
Florand, Laura The Chocolate Kiss
Florand, Laura The Chocolate Touch – Top 5 romance and couple
Florand, Laura The Chocolate Heart Whoops! One of my least favourite couples.
Florand, Laura Chase Me
Gabaldon, Diana Outlander  OBVIOUSLY, plus the series
Garwood, Julie The Gift – Old School
Hoyt, Elizabeth The Ice Princess
Kelly, Carla The Lady’s Companion
Kelly, Carla Marrying the Captain
Kennedy, Elle The Deal
Kinsale, Laura Flowers from the Storm
Kleypas, Lisa Dreaming of You
Kleypas, Lisa Where Dreams Begin
Kleypas, Lisa Again the Magic
Kleypas, Lisa Secrets of a Summer Night
Kleypas, Lisa The Devil in Winter 
Kleypas, Lisa Love in the Afternoon
Lauren, Christina Beautiful Player
Lauren, Christina Dirty Rowdy Thing
Linden, Caroline One Night in London
Long, Julie Anne Like No Other Lover
Long, Julie Anne What I Did for a Duke  CLASSIC
Long, Julie Anne A Notorious Countess Confesses 
MacLean, Sarah One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
McNaught, Judith Almost Heaven  OLD SCHOOL
Milan, Courtney The Duchess War
Milan, Courtney The Suffragette Scandal  IF YOU READ ONLY ONE…
Parker, Lucy Act Like It
Phillips, Susan Elizabeth Natural Born Charmer
Quinn, Julia An Offer from a Gentleman
Quinn, Julia Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
Quinn, Julia It’s In His Kiss
Reid, Penny Neanderthal Seeks Human
Reid, Penny Beauty and the Mustache
Spencer, LaVyrle Vows
Thorne, Sally The Hating Game CLASSIC
Willig, Lauren The Seduction of the Crimson Rose 

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful or my  streamlined recommendations list.

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So You Want to Read a (Historical, Contemporary, New Adult, Paranormal) Romance …

Alternatively: The Worst Romance Novels I Have Ever Read

This recommendations list is gleaned from at least 80 authors and over 500 books.

Ten Great Romance Novellas to Get You Started

Looking for something specific? Here’s a list of authors I’ve read enough to see thematic consistencies and it’s hard to go wrong with these writers:

Tessa Dare – FUN, bring your willing suspension of disbelief, on double-secret probation right now
Laura Florand – contemporary romances set in France, great intensity
Carla Kelly – lovely Regency romances, often military-themed
Lisa Kleypas  – the gold standard, also writes contemporaries
Julie Anne Long – extremely clever and funny
Courtney Milan – The very best currently publishing, one for the pantheon.
Julia Quinn – An excellent place to launch your reading. Start with The Bridgertons.

I lovehate Jennifer Ashley’s sincere romance mired in tortured heroes and overwrought plotting.

This list is an edited version of my Complete Reading List by Author. Reviewed books are linked.

Mallory, a frequent commenter, asked me to make a personal Top 5 list. I tried. I couldn’t do it.

CLASSICS

  1. Balogh, Mary Slightly Dangerous – historical
  2. Bowen, Sarina Blonde Date  – new adult novella
  3. Chase, Loretta Lord of Scoundrelshistorical
  4. Gabaldon, Diana Outlanderhistorical
  5. Heyer, Georgette Venetia (Dameral/Venetia) – historical
  6. Jenkins, Beverly Indigo  – historical
  7. Kinsale, Laura Flowers from the Storm old school, historical
  8. Kleypas, Lisa Dreaming of Youhistorical
  9. Kleypas, Lisa The Devil in Winter  – historical
  10. Long, Julie Anne What I Did for a Duke – historical
  11. Milan, Courtney A Kiss for Midwinter – historical novella
  12. Milan, Courtney The Suffragette Scandal  – historical
  13. Montgomery, L.M. The Blue Castle – historical now, but not when published
  14. Quinn, Julia Romancing Mr. Bridgerton  Bridgerton Book 4 – historical
  15. Thorne, Sally The Hating Game – contemporary

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The Pennyroyal Green Series: The Legend of Lyon Redmond by Julie Anne Long

Having read Julie Anne Long’s eleven book Regency romance Pennyroyal Green series, I am not really in a position to judge how this novel reads as a standalone, but as a long-awaited end to the series, I have but two syllables: BRAVO! Somehow The Legend of Lyon Redmond manages to be both epic in the way required of its buildup and personal in its sweet and believable love story. What’s more, Long successfully tied up every single loose end I could think of from the preceding books. I can’t imagine the planning and plotting involved.

As the two big fish in the small pond of Pennyroyal Green, Sussex, the Redmond and Eversea families are centuries-long rivals for fame and fortune.  They also share a legend that once in every generation, there will be a pair of star-crossed lovers in their rival folds. In the current generation, it is eldest son Lyon Redmond and eldest daughter Olivia Eversea. Like Romeo and Juliet, they spy each other across a crowded room and are instantly, overwhelmingly drawn to each other. Unlike Romeo and Juliet, they do not die owing to a Big Misunderstanding; however, when their secret relationship is discovered it ends with Lyon disappearing for five years. Nothing is known of his whereabouts or what on earth Olivia did to make him leave, so this thread of the missing son and the self-contained, possibly pining woman has woven through the first 10 books. Olivia and Lyon have had character development over the series, so when Olivia decided to moved on and take a suitor, readers knew their end was in sight.

The Legend of Lyon Redmond starts with Olivia preparing for her wedding to an incredibly patient man, Lord Landsdowne, and then flashes back and forth to her relationship with Lyon and the eventual final straw that drove him away.  I loved it. The juxtaposition of who they were then and are now was a great display of character development, particularly hers. Lyon may have gained a reputation as a mystery man, and possible pirate, but Olivia has been living under the weight of her role as a jilted woman, and consequently a matrimonial prize, for years and she has been worn down by it.

Long is always a funny, clever writer, but she sometimes leans towards the twee. That was not the case with The Legend of Lyon Redmond. What I found instead was that she seemed to be giving the historical romance genre and its tropes a big, enthusiastic kiss. I greeted so many of the events with a delighted “of course!” as Long used many standard romance turns, but the joy was in recognizing and embracing them while they were happening. They ALL work because the reader is in on the joke (such sounds of glee, I made), knows what is going on, and because the emotional connection between Lyon and Olivia is written so sincerely and is so completely understandable. Thank you, Julie Anne Long. The Legend of Lyon Redmond  was a long hoped-for gift wrapped with a beautiful bow.

A complete summary of Julie Anne Long’s catalogue, with recommendations and a ranked order of the Pennyroyal Green series, can be found here.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

 

Julie Anne Long’s Catalogue

HISTORICAL ROMANCES

Early Books:
The Runaway Duke – early work, dated
To Love a Thiefvery enjoyable

Three Sisters Trilogy: early series, fine
Beauty and the Spy
Ways to Be Wicked
The Secret to Seduction

Pennyroyal Green Series:
The Perils of Pleasure  – fun
Like No Other LoverDelightful, hot
Since the Surrender – fine, prostitution shouldn’t be funny
I Kissed an Earl – very popular
What I Did for a DukeCLASSIC, fantastic hero
How the Marquess Was Won – really good, but it fell apart
A Notorious Countess Confesses excellent
It Happened One Midnight very good, but somehow not memorable
Between the Devil and Ian Eversea – meh, more of the hero from What I Did for a Duke
It Started with a Scandal – enjoyable enough, but nothing special
The Legend of Lyon Redmond FANTASTIC, better if you read the series first

The Pennyroyal Green series ranked, numbers 1 and 2 are non-negotiable:

1. What I Did for a Duke
2. The Legend of Lyon Redmond
3. A Notorious Countess Confesses
4. It Happened One Midnight
5. Like No Other Lover
6. I Kissed an Earl
7. Between the Devil and Ian Eversea
8. It Started with a Scandal
9. The Perils of Pleasure
10. Since the Surrender
11. How the Marquess Was Won

The Complete Reading List by Author

Short Version: Recommended books are in bold, reviewed books are linked, these are ruthlessly streamlined recommendations lists –

So You Want to Read a (Historical) Romance
Ten Great Romance Novellas to Get You Started
Plus just for funsies: The Worst Romance Novels I Have Ever Read

I have more content based lists over there on the right  –>

Annual Reading Tallies & Author Commentary 2012 – 2017
On reading romance: Emotional Version and Pseudo-Intellectual Version.

My AUTOBUY List (Links Will Take You to a Summary of the Author’s Catalogue)
Tessa Dare (on double-secret probation right now actually)
Laura Florand
Lisa Kleypas
Julie Anne Long
Courtney Milan – The. Very. Best.

-A-
Albert, Annabeth Waiting for Clark (Bryce/Clark)
Alexander, R.G. Ravenous novella (Declan/Trick/Jennifer)
Alexander, Victoria Love with the Proper Husband (Marcus/Gwen)
Alexander, Victoria Lady Amelia’s Secret Lover novella (Robert/Amelia)
Alexander, Victoria The Prince’s Bride (Rand/Jocelyn)
Alexander, Victoria The Importance of Being Wicked (Winfield/Miranda)
Alexander, Victoria Lord Stillwell’s Excellent Engagements novella (Winfield/ Felicia&Lucy&Caroline)
Alvarez, Tracey In Too Deep (West/Piper)
Andre, Bella The Way You Look Tonight (Rafe/Brooke)
Ann, Jewel E. When Life Happened (Gus/Parker)
Ashe, Katharine In the Arms of a Marquess (Ben)
Ashley, Jennifer The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie (Ian, not surprisingly/Beth) – GENRE OUTLINE
Ashley, Jennifer Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage (Mac/Isabella)
Ashley, Jennifer Many Sins of Lord Cameron (Cameron/Ainsley) – GUILTY PLEASURE
Ashley, Jennifer The Duke’s Perfect Wife (Hart/Eleanor)
Ashley, Jennifer Mackenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift (Ian, Mac, Cam, Hart)
Ashley, Jennifer The Seduction of Elliott McBride (Elliott/Juliana)
Ashley, Jennifer The Untamed Mackenzie novella (Lloyd/Louisa)
Ashley, Jennifer The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie (Daniel/Violet)
Ashley, Jennifer Scandal and the Duchess novella (Steven/Rose)
Ashley, Jennifer Rules for a Proper Governess (Sinclair/Roberta “Bertie”)
Ashley, Jennifer A Mackenzie Clan Gathering (Ian/Beth)
Ashley, Jennifer Bodyguard (Shifters Unbound) novella (Ronan/Elizabeth)

The list has gotten SO VERY LONG, please click on the jump.

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The Three Sisters Trilogy: Beauty and the Spy, Ways to Be Wicked, & The Secret to Seduction by Julie Anne Long

Before I begin: Thank you, Malin, for the loan of these books. My Julie Anne Long collection was not going to complete itself.

These three historical romances are an early trilogy from one of the genre’s best writers. Good, but not great, one can feel Julie Anne Long picking up speed and confidence as one moves through the novels. The heroines of each of the three books are the daughters of a Member of Parliament and his beloved mistress. Although never married, their parents had an exclusive, long-term relationship until their father was murdered, their mother was accused of the crime and fled into exile, and a loving family friend took it upon himself to see to the welfare of the three little girls. It was the worst Tuesday ever. The sisters’ efforts to reunite and to bring their father’s murderer to justice is the through line of the trilogy.

Beauty and the Spy (Kit/Susannah)

Susannah is feeling a skooch squelched in her perfect life. Everything is fine, but she’s not really able to completely be herself. Don’t worry, complications are about to enter her life like whatever the Regency version of a Mack truck is. Her father dies, she is left penniless, subsequently fiance-less, and she has to move to a remote village to begin a life of genteel poverty. Fortunately, Kit is there conducting a wildlife survey on his estate.  It’s a McGuffin within a McGuffin as Kit’s convenient presence is at the behest of his tired and protective father. Sparks fly, romance ensues, family secrets are discovered and create a through line for the next two books…

Ways to Be Wicked (Tom/Sylvie)

Ways to Be Wicked offered a pleasantly different take on the Regency era. Everyone actually works for a living – QUELLE HORREUR! – and no one looks askance at taking what opportunities for increased financial security may come.

Sylvie has just learned that she has a sister in England (Hint: It’s Susannah.) and runs away from her life as a Parisian ballet dancer/aristocrat’s mistress to find her family. She ends up working in an, um, gentleman’s theatre as one of a collection of young women whose job it is to wear diaphanous clothing, twirl, and exclaim “Whee!”. She’s not to happy about it, but the man who hired her, Tom, is meshuggah good-looking and fascinated by her. Sparks fly, romance ensues, family secrets are discovered and create a through line for the next book…

The Secret to Seduction (Rhys/Sabrina)

I don’t find the remnants of feudalism all that appealing, but they are very important to Rhys who is an aristocrat of some sort. An earl, I think. I can’t remember this book well. Sabrina is a vicar’s daughter and joins her friend as a house guest (It’s coming back to me.) at Rhys’s recently restored estate. She falls ill and has to stay behind, Rhys is a jerk who decides to  compromise her as some sort of egotistical entertainment – Rhys does not start well, readers – they get caught in a MAJOR clinch, and end up in a marriage of convenience.  (I remembered!) Rhys and Sabrina live separate lives for a bit, he shows up of an evening for procreative purposes, they find their way into a good marriage, then Rhys’s deep dark secret comes out and everything goes KABLOOEY! before being put back to rights. Note: The KABLOOEY! inducing plot twist is pretty darn good.

The Secret to Seduction wraps up the Three Sisters trilogy with a neat bow thus freeing Julie Anne Long to move on to her current Pennyroyal Green series. I have read all of her output and will now spend my time eagerly awaiting her next book. Unfortunately for the readers, but pleasantly for the author, Long’s publishing schedule is about one novel a year. She is a clever and fun writer with a deep and joyful love of sarcasm who pens entertaining and charming novels. Long’s most compelling work so far is What I Did for a Duke. In it, she pulls off a huge age difference and creates a fantastic hero. The heroine is pretty terrific, too, but he is magnificent. All of Long’s books have themes of vulnerability and the necessity of laying oneself bare in order to take a chance on creating genuine happiness for oneself. It’s a lovely thought and she does it so well.  I like to keep her handy on my autobuy list.

A complete summary of Julie Anne Long’s catalogue, with recommendations, can be found here.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.