scandal by the ton: none of the characters are particularly sympathetic, and the author isn’t big on authenticity, but this book was still pretty funny
Elizabeth Cole’s zodiac series– These are really good, and as of this typing, the first one is free!
life is too short to waste it reading about heroes who kiss unconscious strangers. Lack of consent is Not romantic. (Skipping too many books here.)
how to marry a royal Highlander by Vanessa Kelly was fun and amusing.
Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean was just bad. It started out with a promising first two chapters and then became boring and repetitious. Heroine yells at hero. Hero thinks to himself he’s not good enough for her because he’s just a sexy hunk of man-meat. They do something stupid. Rinse, lather, repeat. Either this needed to be a novella or she needs a MUCH better editor because she doesn’t seem to realize she’s already had characters have that exact same conversation in a previous chapter. It had a lot of potential. They could have gotten together earlier on without the angst and had half the book be a heist… this would have been in line with some of her fallen angel series. But no. BORING boring boring with two characters who don’t seem to like each other except for each other’s bodies. I am so glad the library had this and I didn’t make the mistake of buying it.
Kay Michaels has a series called the alphabet Regency Romances. These are none of them great and are of varying quality. The Tenacious Miss Tamerlane, The Playful Lady Penelope, and The Haunted Miss Hampshire all share a mildly amusing side character who only talks in quotations. None of these have particularly sympathetic characters– you would not want to be stuck at any of the house parties or be raised by any of the couples, and everybody is pretty two-dimensional, but they’re still somewhat amusing. Oddly, the Wagered Miss Winslow was actually pretty good with sympathetic characters and a reasonable plot. I almost skipped it entirely because I hate wagered women books, but in this case she’s not actually wagered… it’s more complicated than that and completely reasonable. Also, after reading Scot in the Dark it really hit the spot as the couple does get together (mentally and emotionally as well as physically) before the end of the book and spends the rest of it working together for a common goal. The Belligerent Miss Boynton is worth skipping. The best parts of it are stolen whole cloth from Heyer and the rest is kind of like Taming of the Shrew and the heroine’s agency is pretty much taken away and then she seems just fine with it for no good reason and then an ex-mistress becomes murderous for no good reason. So meh. The Lurid Lady Lockport was surprisingly good. It’s a forced marriage book and is a bit questionable in terms of the husband’s beliefs about consent (the heroine is never assaulted, but he thinks about it) but the plot and puzzle mystery and side characters were remarkably interesting. I found myself wanting to know what happened next and stayed up a bit too late finding out. The rambunctious lady royston was an imitation of one of the worse Heyers with a bored 30-something getting together with a TSTL 17 year old. Only with even less likable characters than in the original Heyer (where at least the heroine was sympathetic). The mischievous Miss Murphy also worth giving a miss. The hero is a jerk and there’s way too much focus on virginity as a woman’s source of value and power.
Kasey Michaels has later work as well, which is more modern–sort of balogh with a sense of humor, and a little suspense. I really liked Then Comes Marriage, the third in a trilogy, and it is worth reading the second just in order to get the full enjoyment of this third book. I skipped the first due to feeling meh about the plot and ratings (update: read it, it was fun, but not necessary to enjoy the first two– a good library read).
Enjoyed Unspoken though it ends on a cliffhanger. (#1 notes: It is a trilogy and the third book gets mixed reviews– we haven’t read the next two books yet.)