The books listed below are the novels I intend to read for my summer reading project. I’m going to try my best to read them in order, review each book separately, and then review the series as a whole. That’s the plan anyway. And yes…I know there’s a lot of books here. I can usually read two or three books a day, especially since since almost all of these books are going to be rereads which makes it go faster.
Edited August 4, 2018: I’ve removed some series from this list because well…I’m running out of time, haha.
So the main reason I read Lynsay Sands is that she’s reliable. I know I’m getting a murder mystery and a romance that’s based more on lust than actual emotion. I’m always relatively entertained and rarely outright disappointed. The major problems I have with this series are not noticeable if you’re not doing a reread of all six books right in a row. If you read them six months apart (or over the five years since An English Bride was released) you probably won’t get hung up on how similar the books are or how completely interchangeable the Buchanan brothers have been.
At the end of this series — which took two weeks for me to read — I’m left with the feeling that I would never recommend anyone read nine Stephanie Laurens books in a row without a break. This is a similar feeling I had after finishing the Highland Brides series by Lynsay Sands. There’s not enough of a differentiation between characters and romantic conflicts and even now, I have to stop and remember which plot went to which characters.
That’s not to say this is a bad series — there’s really only one dud that I would suggest you avoid like the plague (To Distraction). Even Captain Jack’s Woman is at least entertaining enough to get through one read (but don’t ever do it again — Kit’s worth one read, and Jack isn’t worth anymore of your time.) The plots and the residual aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars are well done, though I do wish there had been more of the Bastion Club trying to readjust to the society after so many years undercover.
Of the male leads, they don’t stand out too much. I probably liked Tristan (The Lady Chosen), Jack (A Fine Passion), and Royce (Mastered by Love), but other than Jack (Captain Jack) and Deverell (To Distraction), none of the other male leads are bad. They’re just not memorable.
The female leads were a bit more varied but not by much. Clarice and Minerva were probably my favorite, though Leonora was a close third. I found myself disappointed in Leticia because I wanted to love her and be swept away by who she was described to be but that woman never appeared on the page. She falls in the middle of the pack with Penny and Madeline. Phoebe and Alicia were fine, but I wasn’t really invested in them.
Romance wise, I’d say Royce & Minerva were probably my favorite, but they’re very closely followed by Jack & Clarice, Christian & Leticia, and Tristan & Leonora. There’s nothing wrong with Charles & Penny and Gervase & Madeline though, they’re solidly in the middle. Tony & Alicia are disappointing because Tony is an idiot, but you can probably get through a read. But I hated Jack & Kit and Deverell & Phoebe‘s relationships with the fire of a thousand suns. They were just awful misogynistic stalking assholes whose female leads deserved better.
This is a good series — just don’t read it all at once.
This is the shortest series I’ve done for this project thus far and it’s more of “this next book has characters you met in the last one” kind of series which were really popular for about ten years. Today, a lot of series have something else that connects them — I’m thinking of neighborhoods and villages like Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane and Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove. While the heroes all work for Bow Street, that’s not really something that connects the books on a narrative level.
This is also the first series that did not suffer for having read them all in a row over a few days. Each one of these books stands entirely on their own with unique characters and plots. I don’t have any trouble telling Nick, Grant, and Ross apart which is definitely a step up from the Bastion Club, the Highland Brides, or the Keegan-Paxton series. I also don’t want to groan when previous characters come back — Grant plays a decent supporting role in both the next two books and I never want to set the book on fire. So there’s something for that.
Objectively, the best book in this series is probably Someone to Watch Over Me. It has the tightest plot, with characters that develop and grow, and a romance that appears to escalate nicely. However, my personal favorite remains Lady Sophia’s Lover. Though the plot seems to change halfway through the book and meanders a little bit, I connected more easily to Sophia and Ross and was more invested in their romance. Worth Any Price is probably the weakest of the books, but it’s actually a really good book that I enjoyed a lot and count among one of my favorites.
There’s not much to say about this series. I love any kind of series associated with Bow Street, and I wish that that the third book had been more about Bow Street, but that’s a personal preference and doesn’t affect Worth Any Price all that much. It’s a good series, but I probably like the Wallflowers and Hathaways more. Still, Kleypas is known as one of the masters of the genre for good reason.