Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Unwrapping Reviews for WOO'D IN HASTE & WED AT LEISURE, book one & two of the Taming series by Sabrina Darby

TAMING OF THE SHREW is one of my all-time favorite Shakespearean plays. This classic play overflows with humor, innuendo, and characters filled with life, vigor, and passion. So when I discovered that Sabrina Darby’s first two novellas, WOO’D IN HASTE and WED AT LEISURE, of her Taming series were loosely based on the sisters, Bianca and Kate, from TAMING OF THE SHREW, I was doubly blessed that I won these two in a giveaway.

***prizes received in a giveaway but am returning the favor with an honest and unscripted review of both

Blurb for WOO’D IN HASTE (book one):

Miss Bianca Mansfield is ready for her debut. If only her older sister didn't insist on marrying first. She's doomed to wait to find love. Until she meets . . . him.

For Lucian Dorlingsley, Viscount Asquith, recently returned from an extended tour abroad, it is love at first sight. He's determined to meet Bianca, even if it means masquerading as a tutor to her young half-brother.

Soon Bianca is torn between love and duty and about to make a desperate decision. Can Lucian calm her fury over his betrayal when he reveals that he's not nearly as improper a match as he seems? And will they ever be able to find a match for her older sister to turn this masquerade into wedded bliss?

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Poor Bianca Mansfield must wait for her Season because her sister, Kate, insists she have hers first. So while Kate and her stepmother enjoy all that London has to offer, Bianca patiently waits all the while worrying she may never have her chance - that is until she meets the charming Lucian.

When Lucian Dorlingsley first spies Bianca, he falls head over heels in love with her but quickly discovers that she’s not allowed suitors yet. Desperate to get to know her, his friend Reggie sets up a plan that will allow him to get close to the darling girl. He soon discovers she’s more than a pretty face but also sweet, intelligent, and the woman for him. Only now, he must figure out a way to get past the stipulation that Kate is to marry first and overcome the outcome of Bianca learning of his manipulation to get close to her.

Just as in TAMING OF THE SHREW, Bianca is the sweet sister. Through her eyes, we witness the spoiled, tantrum throwing, self-centered personality of Kate and consequently, the fear that if Kate continues to be such a shrew, she’ll never marry and then Bianca will never have her chance even though she’s falling madly in love with someone that realistically would not be acceptable by her family’s standards. I loved the premise of this story but wish it had been longer. I would love to have discovered more about the relationship between the sisters, and their stepmother, which could give us insight into why the turmoil exists. Sometimes, backstory is needed otherwise, we just feel as if a part of the book has been pulled out only giving us a taste of what could’ve been a fabulous story.

For a lazy afternoon, or some relaxing reading time, I do recommend WOO’D IN HASTE, book one in the Taming series by Sabrina Darby but still can’t help but desire this to be a longer, more detailed, and in-depth story because I just feel it’s missing so much.

Blurb for WED AT LEISURE (book two): 

In all of Sussex—scratch that—in all of England, there is no one prettier than Kate Mansfield, and Peter Colburn, heir to the Duke of Orland, has known that since the age of 15. But since her vivacious nature comes with a temper to match, Peter has always masked his hunger for her behind ruthless teasing.

As far as Kate is concerned, there is no one as annoying or as incredibly handsome as Peter. So when he surprises her with a sudden and romantic courtship, Kate is sure this must be his idea of a sick joke. After all, he's the one man who knows how flawed she really is. And the only man to whom she has ever been so attracted. It's only after she rejects him that she realizes he might actually have been serious. And she just might be regretting her hasty decision.

As Kate's determination wars with her traitorous heart, it may be too late. Now she's putting everything, including her reputation, on the line to give this accidental tragedy a happy ending. 

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Kate Mansfield is spoiled, has a fierce temper, and yet truly wishes everyone would take the time to get to know the real her. She also wants to find someone who will fall in love with her and appreciate the real her and make her feel as beautiful as everyone insists she is. Always feeling less than her beautiful sister, Bianca, the only one who seems to truly understands her is her stepmother and perhaps, Peter Colburn. When Peter attempts to court her, she doesn’t take him seriously and quickly believes it's yet another one of his cruel jokes.

Peter’s attraction to Kate has been there a long time but he knows she’s a hard one to fathom and certainly a tough one to love, but when she rejects him, he backs off only to become more determined to get Kate to see herself the way some others do - the way he does.

I liked Peter's persistence as he tries to understand Kate. At one point, he even asks her to tell him about herself, which she does. It’s at this point when Kate becomes someone the reader can begin to like. It was difficult to like Kate when we met her in WOO’D IN HASTE, but in WED AT LEISURE, we come to understand the pain which she’s carried at feeling the rejection of a mother who called her ugly because she was dark to Bianca’s fairness. She becomes a character we can feel some compassion for as she's feeling less than loved and neglected because her mother favored Bianca.

I enjoyed WED AT LEISURE much more than WOO’D IN HASTE, although these stories go together and complement each other in a fashion that make me wish both had been longer with more backstory so that we might enjoy the changes in both of these women. Kate’s transformation to a sweeter, kinder woman in London is obvious to us and what we want to see. We can understand better the reasons why she reverts to her spoiled, angry self upon returning to the Hall and understand her wishing to be the center of attention before Bianca. It's more a need rather than arrogance but we don't really have enough time to truly get to know her. I would love to have seen both of these stories expanded, the characters allowed to grow and mature, as well as allow us to come to like Kate a little bit more. I truly only began to like her toward the end.

As with WOO’D IN HASTE, I can recommend WED AT LEISURE to anyone who can appreciate the dynamics of sibling rivalry, and who is looking for a quick afternoon read. Both of these stories are easily read back to back in that amount of time only it's more like getting a bite of a delicious dessert rather than a whole piece.

Happy Reading Everyone! 

WOO’D IN HASTE, a Taming novella by Sabrina Darby, Avon Impulse, available now in ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks with print coming June 12th.

WED AT LEISURE, a Taming novella by Sabrina Darby, Avon Impulse, available now in ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks with print coming June 12th.
***click on links above or cover below for purchasing information
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