Wednesday, December 28, 2011

[NOR and ARC Review]: "Sunrise with a Notorious Lord"

Sunrise with a Notorious Lord by Alexandra Hawkins
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (January 3, 2012)
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Lords of Vice, 4
Summary (Amazon.com):
Dashing, decadent, and deliciously seductive, the notorious Lords of Vice indulge their every desire—from dusk until dawn…



Christopher Courtland, Earl of Vanewright—known around London as “Vane”—is the very picture of a rich, handsome ladies’ man. Why shackle himself to just one lady when he’s free to sample them all? In spite of his own mother’s attempts at matchmaking, Vane has sworn to stay single. Until he has a chance run-in with Miss Isabel Thorne…


A modest and refined beauty, Isabel is a lot more brazen than she appears. When a pickpocket tries to make away with Vane’s bejeweled snuffbox, Isabel attempts to thwart his escape…and manages to steal Vane’s heart. But the harder he tries to seduce the sharp-tongued, strong-willed Isabel, the more she resists. Now it’s up to this tried-and-true bachelor to find a new way to play the game…or risk losing the one woman who’s ever captured his heart.



Other Books in the Series:
Click on the covers to buy from BN.com; the title links to the book's page on the author's site.






Book 1: All Night with a Rogue









Book 2: Till Dawn with the Devil










Book 3: After Dark with a Scoundrel






Where to Buy*: Amazon | Kindle | BN.com | NOOK
More Info: Author's Site | Book Site | Excerpt^
^(Download this sampler, the excerpt for this book, and many others, is in it!)



My Review:

Isabel Thorne life has been anything but easy. Her father's death lead to her mother's inability to deal with everyday life, leaving Isabel to take care of the household herself. With limited resources, this hasn't been easy; her father was only a mere working man, a philosopher of sorts, and though her mother was born the daughter of a lord she was cut off completely the moment she married Mr. Thorne. Isabel has come to accept that she will never have a glorious life, but if she can at least keep her younger sister, Delia, from trouble until she marries, she will be content. This is no easy task when her sister only wishes to flirt with every man she meets, but has no wish to marry yet.




It is because of her sister that Isabel gets the chance to go to London for a season. A lady of the ton asks her to come to town, with Delia, for the purpose of trying to arrange a match between her son and Delia. Isabel agrees, but doesn't realize at the time all the trouble this plan is going to be. Nor does she realize that the lady's plan all along was not for Delia to be the bride, but rather Isabel herself...



Christopher, more commonly known to the world as Vane (Lord Vanewright) is anything but tame. He is, in fact, one of the Lords of Vice, a group of young men that are said to participate in truly scandalous affairs, as well as own the Nox club, which is known for its less than honorable reputation. Like the rake he is, he has been avoiding his mother's matchmaking attempts for two years now, but can he outwit her yet again, or will he find himself leg-shackled to some young heiress by the end of the season?



When he runs into the enchanting Miss Isabel Thorne while trying to break off an affair with his current mistress (while in a seamstress, of all places!), he thinks nothing of it. Her younger sister is with her, and while many men would no doubt say that Delia is more beautiful, his eyes kept straying to Isabel instead. Little does he know that she is plotting with his mother, trying to set him up with Delia. He has no attraction to the younger Thorne sister, but Isabel is a temptation he finds himself unable to resist. Could the infamous Lord Vane finally have found the one woman who can tame his rakish soul?



Upon finding out about her connection with his mother's plans, Vane casts Isabel aside; how could she lie to him like that? He trusted her, believed she was one of the few honest women out there, and he had come to think of her not only as his friend and lover, but as, perhaps, something more permanent. After confronting his mother with the discovery, he finds out that perhaps Isabel was telling him the truth all along—or at least the truth as she knew it... It seems his mother was trying to be sneaky about all of it and only told Isabel that the matchmaking was to be between Vane and Delia, when instead she had set her eyes on Isabel for a future daughter-in-law. After the cruel way he treated her, how can he ever convince Isabel that he is the right man for her—the only man for her? By the use of some late night seduction of course!



I liked this book, I truly did. However, I didn't love it. I had a hard time connecting real well with the characters. Isabel wasn't too bad; at least she wasn't a silly society miss; she knows what hard work is and she does it, unlike her younger sister. I felt like I could empathize with Isabel a bit, in that she often felt like she was giving everything she had (to her family, to her responsibilities) and yet was getting nothing back in return. I know I certainly feel this way at times, and I am at least glad that Isabel was not one of those that whines about it. As to Vane...I like a good rake, but he I didn't fall in love with this one. Something about him, or perhaps a lack of knowing who he really is as a character, kept me from falling for him.



The storyline felt a bit rough at times; the pace more “stop-and-go” than smooth and steady. Part of it, naturally, can be due to the fact that I was reading an uncorrected copy; however, I don't think the ARC should take the entire blame. It seemed like there was not a lot of interaction between Isabel and Vane at times and yet suddenly they are both in love and consummating said love for one another. Hold on—where was the build up? Where was the romance? Where were the basic connections? I barely saw any of it, and that is a shame because all of these things combined, when done well, can be much more entertaining and fulfilling than the climax of these elements: the sex scene.



3.5 Stars! Despite a few flaws, Sunrise with a Notorious Lord wasn't a bad read; however, it's not one that I would recommend running right out to buy either. Instead, it falls somewhere in between—at least for me. I will, however, be looking into the other books in this series (both previous and upcoming) because some of the other Lords of Vice sound quiet interesting and I am hoping that their reform will be a bit more enjoyable than Vane's. For a quick read, there is nothing wrong with Sunrise with a Notorious Lord; but if you are looking for more from your romance novel (strong characters you can relate to and a tangible romance for example) than perhaps you might wish to look elsewhere.




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Thanks to Night Owl Reviews, where I received this ARC for free in exchange for reviewing the book. (Free book does not equal biased review, however!) This review is the property of NOR.
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Enjoy!




Until Next Time,
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