Miss Wonderful - Loretta Chase I thought this book was okay, but you know there are problems when you're more interested in seeing what happens with the (very marginal) secondary romance than you are with the main one. I'm not up for writing a long-winded review right now, so here are my impressions, in mostly single- or double-syllabic words:

Alistair Carsington - Overcame the dandy impression admirably to the point that I really liked him. I continued reading because I wanted to know more about him. I retained a bit of skepticism, though, because one of the first things we learn is that he falls in love fast and frequently. I guess all he was looking for was someone to reciprocate that love? This raised doubts as to the lasting power of his affections.

Mirabel Oldridge - First 25%, "a little prickly, but we'll see where this prickliness comes from." From 25-75%, "WHAT A BITCH!" Last 25%, okay...that was a big turnaround, but I guess it works? I guess? Could not relate to her. At. All.

Story - The writing was a little too flowery for my tastes. Lots of nice details of the setting, but I felt like the story really dragged. There were a lot of moving parts to the story (specifically when the outside forces/villains came into play), and, at the same time, there weren't. I mean, the canal was their big fighting point, but I kept wondering where our characters' priorities lay, especially when Mirabel was fighting tooth and nail to keep the canal out of her property...even when it wouldn't have disturbed the property overmuch...and all this time, Alistair has already declared himself and it's like option a = "keep my property pristine" or option b = "be hugged, kissed, and loved for the rest of my life." I mean, is that really a question? I seriously doubted her intelligence when she was so damned stubborn. She ends up seeing it this way ~75% into the story, but GAW, she was such a heartless bitch and schemer until that point.

Sexytimes - Too purple prose-y for me. I also thought that Mirabel's pro-active seduction came out of the blue and totally out of character. Very sweet and brimming with emotion, but I can do without similes to "drinking the nectar of the wildflowers blooming defiantly in the most forbidding moorland." I mean, whut? I no know what you is meaning, narrator.

Secondary characters - Served their purpose, and I quite liked Mirabel's eccentric pops. I REALLY liked the secondary sorta-romance between Mirabel's old governess, Mrs. Entwhistle, and Mirabel's neighbor, Captain Hughes. Wish we could have seen that curmudgeonly duo paired up officially.

Verdict - Eh...this one did redeem itself a bit at the end, and while 2 seems a bit low, I don't think it merits an "I liked it" 3 stars. So let's say 2+/2.5 or so. This was my first Loretta Chase, and let's just say it was not a promising start. *le sigh* Nevertheless, I've heard positive feedback on the later books, so I'll check them out since my library has them. I also have the much-beloved [b:Lord of Scoundrels|5948657|Lord of Scoundrels (Scoundrels, #3)|Loretta Chase|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51s7uWRku8L._SL75_.jpg|414437] on my DTB TBR pile for me to try at some point. So, no, I have not given up hope.