Review – What a Lady Needs by Kasey Michaels

I enjoyed What an Earl Wants, the first book in The Redgraves series by Kasey Michaels, so when I saw the second book, What a Lady Needs, come up on NetGalley, I requested it right away.  I was excited to read the second book, which features the inimitable Lady Katherine Redgrave, because she seemed, in book 1, to be an interesting character.  She was so comfortable with herself, wearing what she liked, sitting how she liked, conversing how she liked, etc., and I was interested to see how Michaels would take all that self-sufficiency and incorporate it in a love story.  The result, to my mind, is a bit mixed, with some aspects working very well and others not so much.

Cover image, What a Lady Needs by Kasey Michaels

The publisher’s blurb, courtesy of Goodreads:

Lady Katherine Redgrave has one mission—to find her deceased father’s journals, which may hold the key to a traitorous conspiracy that puts Kate’s family in danger. Kate vows to let no obstacle stand in her way . . . but when she meets Simon Ravenbill, Marquis of Singleton, her attention is diverted as the sinfully handsome nobleman tempts her beyond reason.

Simon has a mission of his own: to uncover the truth about the secret society he believes murdered his brother. All he needs is to get to the Redgrave journals before Kate does. The solution is simple—he’ll romance the fiery beauty in hopes of distracting her from her quest, all while covertly searching for the diaries himself. Yet what begins as a charade soon becomes an all-consuming desire . . . one that could lead them down the most dangerous path of all.

What a Lady Needs continues the intrigue story arc from the first book of the series, though I do think it could easily be read as a stand-alone story, but the focus of this story is on the romance developing between Simon and Katherine.  I thought Michaels did a fine job tying in the continuing story elements with the romance, and I enjoyed the carryover of some of the first book’s charming elements into this story.  Adam is still delightfully stupid, and Trixie is still wonderfully disturbing in her dual roles of oversexed political and social mastermind and awkward grandmother.

In fact, there was really only one thing that I didn’t like about the book, but it’s a biggie.  The writer’s voice of What an Earl Wants was rather serious, and it suited the subject matter of the book.  This series is about uncovering the members and the plots of a hell-fire club bent on treason and predicated on rape… it isn’t lighthearted stuff.  The author’s voice in What a Lady Needs is much lighter, and it made the book seem like a romp.  It bothered me throughout.  I had a difficult time connecting to both Simon and Katherine because neither of them seemed to be taking anything as seriously as they should.  I kept putting the book down in favor of other books until I finally forced myself to read the second half in one sitting.  When I was done, I felt more relieved to be done than happy I’d read the book.  To be fair, my experience of the book does not seem to be typical (it’s getting loads of very positive reviews on Goodreads), but other readers whose tastes run similar to mine may experience a similar difficulty enjoying the book.

Now I have a quandary… I didn’t truly enjoy reading What a Lady Needs, but does that mean that I should stop looking forward to the next book in the series?  I’m leaning towards continuing to look forward to book 3, because I loved book 1 so very much.  I hope I am not leading myself astray.

Bottom line: those who enjoy romantic romps will, I think, absolutely love What a Lady Needs. Readers who want a little more depth with their romance should stick with What an Earl Wants.

What a Lady Needs was released on April 30, 2013 as an e-book and mass market paperback by Harlequin HQN.  To find out more about the book, click on the cover image above to visit the book’s page on Goodreads.  To learn more about Kasey Michaels, please visit her website.

*FTC Disclosure – I received an e-galley of this book from HQN via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.*

Introduction – Armchair BEA Day 1

May has been an uncommonly busy month for me, but it’s finally starting to calm down.  Good timing, too, because it’s time for Armchair BEA!  What’s that, you say?  It’s a way of participating virtually in the Book Expo America currently occurring in somewheresville, USA (I pay a lot of attention, you’ll note).  I had a blast participating in Armchair BEA in 2012, and I’m looking forward to having even more fun with it this year.  It all starts with an introduction:

1.  Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? 

Hello_my_name_is_sticker copy

So, this type of question provides an obvious beginning to an introduction — after all, who does an introduction without first providing a reference point? — but reference points tend to stress me out.  How much context is appropriate to provide?  I suspect the average person doesn’t spend any time analyzing such a silly, everyday question as ‘who are you, and why do you blog?’  Then again, there’s a reason this blog is called Reading with Analysis…

Anyway, I’ve been blogging here for a little over a year.  I started the blog because I needed something for my brain to do, an outlet for my creativity, and because I know very few people IRL who read romance novels, and I wanted to find some way of talking about books without enduring my friends’ well-meaning side eyes and eye rolls.  In the past year, I have made a few book friends and have greatly increased my general happiness quotient by talking about books to people who aren’t all judgy.  It’s fantastic.

2.  What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2013? 

I’m having a difficult time determining my favorite book so far in 2013, so I’ll just highlight the book I’m reading now.  Also, I’m loving it, and you should all read it when it comes out.

Cover image, A Woman Entangled by Cecilia Grant

Don’t let that cover fool you into thinking this is just another silly boy meets girl, they instalust, they boink, and something happens, so they angst about it a bit, but it turns out to be nothing, so it’s happily ever after type of story.  It isn’t.  The writing in this book is incredible; I feel less like I’m reading a story and more like I’m making a friend.  Seriously, you need to read it.  (A Woman Entangled will be available on June 25.)

3.  Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you. 

I’m wary of opening up a, “hey, let’s talk about religion” thing here — that never goes well — but this tidbit is really the only surprising thing about me, other than what I shared last year: I’m very involved in my church.  I sing in the choir, chair the board (though we Episcopalians call that position Senior Warden, and we call the board a Vestry, but when I first joined my church, I thought the term ‘warden’ was restricted to penitentiaries or insane asylums, so….), and serve on the social committee.  That last is actually the secret thing most folk wouldn’t know about me.  I’m so painfully awkward in person, it’s difficult to imagine that I might have an interest in anything social.  Surprise!

4.  Name your favorite blog(s) and explain why they are your favorite(s). 

In no particular order, my favorites are:

Beauty in Budget Blog – My friend runs this blog, and I love reading her reviews of drugstore and higher end makeup items.  Every day that I don’t look like a transient, it’s because of something I read about on this blog.  (When I do look like a transient, it’s because I’m lazy.)

Via Lucis – I’ve got a thing for architectural photography, and Via Lucis provides a dose of beauty with every post.

Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Books – I get excited every time I get an email that a new post is up at this blog, which contains a fairly eclectic mix of posts on books, art, life, movies, television shows, pop culture, cocktails, etc.

and Reflections of a Book Addict – Kim, the founding reviewer at Reflections of a Book Addict, and I are reading besties.  We have remarkably similar taste in romance novels and often read books together.  My favorite thing about her blog, however, is that she and her fellow staff on the blog read books from a diverse mix of genres and styles, and there’s always something interesting appearing on the blog.

5.  Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read? 

My favorite post is Women and silence…and romance novels.  I’m quite proud of a few others, but that one really stands out to me.

Stay tuned for more Armchair BEA posts this week (and an overdue review post, hopefully later today)!