Customer Reviews: A Secret in Her Kiss (Avon Historical Romance)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars27
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on February 5, 2012
I really enjoyed this book! Not only did it have a great romance, but it was witty and exciting.

The setting was really unique--the Ottoman Empire after the Napoleonic Wars. You could tell that it was well-researched, but you never feel like you're getting a history lesson or reading a travel guide--the setting and historical aspects were really well-integrated into the story. And there's so much adventure in this book. This is definitely not a romance novel where all the characters do is go to balls. Randol has the characters traveling and spying and getting up to their ears in intrigue.

Randol does a fantastic job at keeping the characters believable. They are talented and strong but have their share of weaknesses too. Mari was resourceful and brave--which are both characteristics I love in heroines. She definitely wasn't the shrinking violet type, but she wasn't headstrong either. I feel like so many times when an author tries to write a brave heroine, the character just ends up doing really stupid things that have me pulling my hair. But Mari's practical and levelheaded, and she ended up being someone I really admired.

Bennett is a great character too. He's very duty-conscious but not to the extreme where he's too straight-laced or smothering. Randol does a great job at making his motivations clear, so even when he does slightly overbearing things, you can at least understand why he's doing it. The secondary characters were surprisingly well-rounded and made for an entertaining backup cast.

Most of all, I think this book was just so well-written and readable. The writing style flowed and felt natural and never seemed awkward or obvious. It was really well-paced too. I started reading this book intending just to stop at bedtime, but I got so sucked in, I stayed up way past that. So needless to say, I'm definitely looking forward to reading more by Anna Randol.
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on January 31, 2012
Attention grabbing cover? Check. Unique historical setting? Check. A smart and sassy heroine? Check. A hero destined to protect her, no matter the cost to himself, his country and his heart? Check. Great writing from a debut author? Yup, another check.

Obviously the biggest thing that drew me to this book was the unique setting. The entire book is set in Constantinople and with that came the lush descriptions of the land and fashions, which were done very well. I really enjoyed our strong heroine, Mari and her belief that she can protect herself even though her life has been in danger before due to her secretive drawings. When the overbearing, Adonis looking Major Bennett Prestwood arrives to protect her during her last mission, the gloves are drawn on both sides and the sparks fly.

For a debut I was very happy with this book. The storyline was interesting and moved quickly along. There is a sweet side story that was enjoyable and I really did not see the big reveal at the end of the villain. The chemistry between Mari and Bennett was smoldering and the little attentions to detail were fabulous. It is so refreshing to read a historical that is set within a unique setting that gave me glimpses of the new area without overwhelming me with too many details. There is just enough freshness that will have you finishing up this books with a wonderful smile on your face. I would have liked an epilogue, but that is just me. I love epilogues :) If you are in the mood for a fresh location and storyline that features a strong couple amongst danger and intrigue, Anna Randol looks to be an author on the rise if her debut is any indication. 4 stars
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on February 16, 2012
(Spoiler alert-I do talk about things in the book)

Kudos to Randol for straying from the typical Regency formula for her debut novel. I liked that the story unfolded in another land and incorporated another culture besides the beau monde. I feel that on their own the H&h were well-developed characters. The reader understands their motivations and why they are the way they are. But, when they were together, I felt at times it was awkward. They were attracted to each other, would mess around, and then have doubts on how the other would feel. Hello? If I felt lukewarm towards someone, I would not be letting him feel me up. Their love scenes were kind of strange (and rushed?), and the location of one was ick-ick-ick. It is the LAST place I would want to make love. I don't think tromping around in the desert for days unwashed would make me feel like it's Sexy Time. The story had a lot of potential, although the mystery aspect was a bit predictable and the ending was farfetched, but hey, it's fiction.

Oh, and her father?? What happened to him? I kind of glossed over the end because I found it a bit predictable, but was he mentioned at all? I understand why Randol incorporated him-to develop Mari and her backstory, but then he just kind of went away...
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on August 6, 2012
Unrelated to the story itself -- I hate it when covers don't match the book. Yes, the cover is beautiful, but Mari has tons of curly, dark hair. Her hair is prominent in the story, but wrong on the cover. I know it's a marketing decision based on what's available, but it bugs me.

Okay -- the story. The author set up the characters of the leads right away through their actions. They were believable and layered. I found them both sympathetic and rarely wanted to slap either of them. I was rooting for them to get past their differences, but their personal happy ending was not at focal as discovering the intelligence leak. This is a plot, rather than character, driven story. The setting, the political intrigue, and the eminent danger was was interesting, but took me out of the romance to a point where the romantic elements were side plot. It straddles a line between historical fiction and romance (something I understand), but as such, is not an emotionally satisfying romantic read.

It was well written, with rich (but not overwhelming) description. I would read this author again.
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on March 6, 2012
Mari Sinclair is a talented artist that has lived in Constantinople for years. The British enlist her skill in order to get detailed sketches of Ottoman camps, hidden within what looks like harmless sketches of butterflies and nature. When Mari is told to do three more sketches, she tries to quit, but her superiors tell her otherwise. In the meantime, Major Bennett Prestwood is assigned protective detail, after a rogue bullet nearly took her out at her last assignment. When things begin to get complicated, i.e. loyalties to friends vs. country, romantic entanglement, etc., both Mari & Bennett struggle to makes sense of right and wrong.

This was a very enjoyable tale. I have a fondness for romances set in non-traditional locations, especially regencies. I'm not always a fan of spy stories, but this one worked out for me. Mari is an intelligent and down to earth woman. She's independent without being abrasive. She's also proud and stubborn, traits Bennett match as well. They butt heads many times over the course of their time together, but generally they come to find something of a working agreement. Which of course leads to something more, though they're both wary of it.

Then politics catch up with them.

I enjoyed Ms. Randol's tale. It's a regency romance that offers a nice breath of fresh air with its Ottoman theme. If you're looking for a romantic story that has well developed and complex characters embroiled in an elaborate and dangerous scheme, this book is for you.
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on February 24, 2013
This book is a very good story, and I wanted to love it....but I didn't.

The good:
1. The characters were good. They were fleshed out and believable.
2. I appreciated that the book was not the same as other romance novels. She dealt with a different location that usual, and there were some themes (addiction, abuse) that are not generally seen in the genera.

The bad:
1. Those themes? She didn't explore them. They were pretty one demensional. She told us and didn't really show us.
2. The ending was kind of rushed. I was left wanting more, and not in a good way.

All in all, I'll probably try another of her books, but it surely wasn't my favorite.
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on March 24, 2013
So this book was amazingly good. Seriously. Ignore the cover art if it bugs you, it's not in any way a depiction of the book. That being said 2 more things to clarify before I resume gushing: 1.) This is not a harem book 2.) This is not a clean Regency. There is sex, it is very hot, but it is also tasteful and highly emotional. In fact everything about this book was so tight and well written it amazed me. This is an adventure/spy book centered around a Bodyguard type romance story. It is set in Constantinople during the Regency era. It reminded me of the original The Mummy movie in tone. It was tragic and lighthearted all at once, except in Regency era. The characters are brought vividly to life, the plots and mysteries are deftly woven and tinged with misdirection. The Hero is everything a Regency hero should be. He's amazingly delicious. The heroine is fun. She's a very tragic figure but she is plucky and courageous and human enough to admit fear. The book is decently long too, that pleased me. I got to spend a good long time in the company of these characters and it was time well spent. A treasure. Very highly recommended for all Regency Romance lovers.
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on March 19, 2013
This is a very unusual historical romance. At times I hate the hero and there were times that I hated the heroine. But despite the sometimes horrid destructiveness of their personality traits this was a very good book. It was action packed and there was a romance packed with sensuality that leapfrogged pages. Anna Randolph is a new to me author and now having read one will be on the lookout for more of her work, she tells a delightful story that is a refreshing change of pace.
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on August 2, 2013
Wonderfully written book, very fast paced.
Even strong scenes were written well without too many gory details (this I consider important as a romance reader). Anna Randol is now one of my favorite authors.

Refreshingly different since it is a beautifully written historical without London crushed balls, or modiste or plates(which after you read quite a few books becomes very boring)
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on June 23, 2012
I enjoyed reading this book. I don't usually buy historical romances that aren't set in England, but I'm glad I made the exception here. The author created an interesting story with well-developed characters. She gave me enough information to give me the flavor of the country without the burden of too much culture. I will read more from this author. I recommend this book.
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