Advance Review- Between The Devil And The Duke by Kelly Bowen

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Title: Between The Devil and The Duke (A Season For Scandal, book #3)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Kelly Bowen

Publisher: Forever, Jan. 31, 2017(preorder available)

Source: Free for Review from the Publisher

Pages: 352

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:         

Their love was always in the cards. He should have thrown her out. But when club owner Alexander Lavoie catches a mysterious blonde counting cards at his vingt-et-un table, he’s more intrigued than angry. He has to see more of this beauty in his club, in his office, in his bed. But first he’ll have to devise a proposition she can’t turn down. Gossip said he was an assassin. Common sense told her to stay away. But Angelique Archer was desperate, and Lavoie’s club offered a surefire way to make quick money-until she got caught. Instead of throwing her out though, the devil offers her a deal: come work for him. Refusing him means facing starvation, but with a man so sinfully handsome and fiercely protective, keeping things professional might prove impossible . . .

**

This book is suspenseful and sexy from the beginning. Angelique is in dire needs of funds because of money that seemed to just disappear from the family coffers when her father died.  Her dissolute brother is a drunk and he spends whatever money Angelique manages to win at the gaming tables on drinking.  Alex knows that Angelique’s astute ability with numbers will be an asset to his gaming club but he is also in lust with her.

There is a terrific mystery woven throughout this story.  It will keep you guessing and a few surprises will be thrown into the mix. This book is a page turner, full of sexual tension, dangerous villains and a handsome hero who has all the right connections to help a damsel in distress.  But wait, the damsel is quite capable also of aiding in solving her problems. There are heated encounters and sizzling chemistry between the Hero and Heroine.

This book is splendidly entertaining. I highly recommend this the latest installment in “The Season For Scandal” series.  It is a standalone book with characters from previous books in the series making an appearance.

 

 

 

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Advance Review- any time Any Place by Jennifer Probst

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Title: Any Time, Any Place (The Billionaire Builders, book #2)

Genre: Contemporary Romance        

Author: Jennifer Probst

Publisher: Gallery Books, Jan. 24, 2017 (preorder available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 400

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

When she was a teen, Raven Bella Stratton’s father was killed in a horrible car crash. The bigger shock was the discovery of a woman with him—Diana Pierce—and their two fully packed suitcases with airline tickets to Paris. Devastated by her father’s betrayal, Raven went to live with her aunt, never truly overcoming the traumatic event. When she discovers that the mysterious woman had a family with a husband and three boys, Raven vows to leave the memory of her father behind. Until Dalton Pierce visits one night and suddenly her past challenges her future…

Leaving his life in California behind to run Pierce Construction with his two older brothers, Dalton Pierce has enjoyed returning home and studying his passion of woodworking. But when he visits the local bar with his brothers one evening, he’s immediately drawn to the smart-mouthed, badass, sexy bartender who sets his body on fire. Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem as intrigued by him, and his multiple advances are met with rejection. When he offers to restore the bar back to its original glory, he begins to work with her on a daily basis, and falls harder. His plan of seduction slowly weaves a web around them both, until they are caught up in the spell. But Dalton doesn’t know the secret that can either destroy them both…or finally mend two broken hearts.

***

This is the book for all of us sexy, banter lovers. The sexual tension just sizzles as Raven and Dalton flirt and lust for each other.  This second book in the Billionaire Builders series is about the youngest, Pierce Construction brother Dalton and Raven the local owner of “My Place” bar and restaurant. Together they have off the chart chemistry which Dalton wants to pursue and which Raven has all kinds of reasons to avoid not the least of which is the fact that Dalton’s mother and Raven’s father died running away together ten years prior. But it seems Dalton is unaware of their connection and Raven can’t bring herself to tell him.

This is a yummy, page turning, super sizzling read. Dalton is absolutely a wonderful hero. Raven and Dalton have so much in common that we really pull for their happily-ever-after.  My only negative is that the description of Raven’s looks was more like a description of Disney’s Malevolent, hardly flattering, at least in my opinion.

“…Her eyes slanted up at the sides like a cat’s; they were the color of soot with a tinge of smoke grey around the rims.  Her face was long and lean, with a sharp chin and nose and heavy brows.  Her lower lip plumped out; her upper one was defined.  She was wicked tall, with small breasts, long arms and legs, and narrow hips…”

This is a standalone read with side characters that were presented in the first book of this series. It is not necessary to have read that book to enjoy this one.

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Review-Cold Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

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Title: Cold Hearted Rake (The Ravenels, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Lisa Kleypas

Publisher: Avon, 2015

Source: Purchase

Pages: 419

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:         

A twist of fate . . .

Devon Ravenel, London’s most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities . . . and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl’s three innocent sisters are still occupying the house . . . along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon’s own.

A clash of wills . . .

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:

Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she’s ever known?

***

I finally got around to reading this Lisa Kleypas book, her first historical romance in a very long while. I think the only thing that held me back from delving into this one sooner is that I read several reviews that told me I just might be disappointed in the book.  Now, Lisa Kleypas is a favorite author of mine so I should have realized that I would not be disappointed, and I wasn’t.

Kathleen was not a very likable character which might have irked some readers.  She was a real prude, at least until Devon wore down her resistance and after that she decided to run everyone else’s life. Devon was a true Alpha male and yes, that got a bit annoying too.  However….this is still a story written by an author who can bring even these flawed characters to life and make them seem very real.  We are given total understanding of the whys of their actions and attitudes as only an accomplished author can. The sisters, Pandora, Cassandra and Helen, are beautifully introduced and we look forward to their stories in the already released Marrying Winterbourne (Helen’s story) and the soon to be released Devil in Spring(Pandora’s story). This is a really good start to this series and as I go forward to read the rest of the series I’m glad I had this introduction to the characters.

I can recommend this book highly, it is classic Kleypas and, although not my very favorite of hers, still a beautifully wrought Historical Romance.

 

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Recent Release Review- Ready, Set, Rogue by Manda Collins

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Title: Ready, Set, Rogue (A Studies In Scandal Novel, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Manda Collins

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, Jan. 3, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 320

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:         

When scholarly Miss Ivy Wareham receives word that she’s one of four young ladies who have inherited Lady Celeste Beauchamp’s estate with a magnificent private library, she packs her trunks straightaway. Unfortunately, Lady Celeste’s nephew, the rakish Quill Beauchamp, Marquess of Kerr, is determined to interrupt her studies one way or another…

Bequeathing Beauchamp House to four bluestockings—no matter how lovely they are to look at—is a travesty, and Quill simply won’t have it. But Lady Celeste’s death is not quite as straightforward as it first seemed…and if Quill hopes to solve the mystery behind her demise, he’ll need Ivy’s help. Along the way, he is surprised to learn that bookish Ivy stirs a passion and longing that he has never known. This rogue believes he’s finally met his match—but can Quill convince clever, skeptical Ivy that his love is no fiction?

***

I’m no stranger to Manda Collins’ books.  I’ve read and enjoyed many (at least 5) over the past few years.  I’ve always found them to have unique plots and this offering is no exception.  Ivy receives a letter when she arrives at the Beauchamp estate from her deceased benefactor, Celeste Beauchamp, telling her that if she is reading the letter then she, Celeste, has died and probably under mysterious circumstances.  She tells Ivy to work with her nephew, Quill, to solve her murder. Of course this alliance leads to time spent in each other’s company and a romance blossoms, rather quickly.

I have to confess that this book is not a favorite of mine.  I thought much of the story predictable, and some incidents a bit of a cliché. The characterization of all characters was well realized and individual personalities of the other ladies inheriting along with Ivy were well drawn.  We can, hopefully, look forward to their stories as the series continues. The mystery is interesting and held my attention even if I didn’t feel a romantic bond formed between Ivy and Quill. I recommend this book with some reservations.

 

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Review- Mistletoe & Mayhem/Anthology

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Title: Mistletoe & Mayhem(A Regency Yuletide collection book#4)

Genre: Historical romance/Holiday Anthology

Author: Virginia Brown, Ann Ferguson, Karen Fisch and Sharon Sobel

Publisher: Imajinn, Nov. 2016

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 268

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 2

Violence Rating:0

Description from Amazon.com:

This Christmas, Miss Lily Jardine is getting something any girl would want – a betrothal offer. Too bad she’s falling for her soon-to-be fiancé’s brother instead . . . Merrily Mismatched by Virginia Brown

Lady Lucia Crossclyffe can’t resist the charms of Marquess of Rillington, a holiday visitor to her isolated island home. Little does she guess that he’s come there to ruin her . . . The Snow Princess by Jo Ann Ferguson

After years of being presumed dead, Major Jeremy Stanhope has come home from the war. His first order of business – to propose to Lady Rosalie Partington, the woman who’s waited for him all these years. Only Rosalie is already betrothed . . . to the traitor who left him for dead! Christmas Truce by Karen Frisch

Charles Hudson, the Earl of Westerly, has come to Windermere for Christmas with one intention – to offer for the woman whose letters have captivated him for the last year. But is the letter-writer the woman he thinks she is? Miss Montague’s Mistletoe Match by Sharon Sobel

***

As with most anthologies, this one has some very good stories and then again some that are not as good but on the whole this is a fine anthology.  All of the stories are interesting, filled with warm seasonal sentiment and result in our longed for happily ever after.  There aren’t any steamy scenes but the romance is still heart stopping.  I can recommend this anthology to all romance lovers and don’t feel it has to be read at Christmas.  These stories are just wonderful any time of the year.

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Review- My American Duchess by Eloisa James

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Title: My American Duchess

Genre: Historical romance/Regency

Author: Eloisa James

Publisher: Avon, Jan. 2016

Source: Purchase

Pages: 436

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

The arrogant Duke of Trent intends to marry a well-bred Englishwoman. The last woman he would ever consider marrying is the adventuresome Merry Pelford— an American heiress who has infamously jilted two fiancés.

But after one provocative encounter with the captivating Merry, Trent desires her more than any woman he has ever met. He is determined to have her as his wife, no matter what it takes. And Trent is a man who always gets what he wants.

The problem is, Merry is already betrothed, and the former runaway bride has vowed to make it all the way to the altar. As honor clashes with irresistible passion, Trent realizes the stakes are higher than anyone could have imagined. In his battle to save Merry and win her heart, one thing becomes clear:

All is fair in love and war.

***

Merry Pelford is engaged to Cedric but meets his twin brother, the Duke of Trent, and strikes up a conversation with neither knowing who the other actually is. But Trent decides right then that this is the woman he wants for his duchess.  Then they are formally introduced and it is clear to Trent that Merry would really be good for his brother if only he, Trent could set aside his feelings.

This is a really delightful story of an American trying to fit into a role that she feels unequipped to handle and two men who have always competed with each other.  There are humorous moments and also times when everything seems to go wrong. I’m giving this book 4.5 stars because I vacillated between 4 or 5.  It is certainly a page turner that brings a smile.  The main characters are well drawn and the side characters add a bit of sparkle.  The book is too long. That is my opinion.  It could have packed the same punch with a good 40 pages taken out. But I still highly recommend it as a terrific read.

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Recent Release Review-House of Silence by Sarah Barthel

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Title: House of Silence

Genre: Historical Fiction/Thriller/Suspense (romantic elements)

Author: Sarah Barthel

Publisher: Kensington, Dec. 27, 2016

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 300

Rating: 2.5

Sexy Rating: 2

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:         

Oak Park, Illinois, 1875. Isabelle Larkin’s future—like that of every young woman—hinges upon her choice of husband. She delights her mother by becoming engaged to Gregory Gallagher, who is charismatic, politically ambitious, and publicly devoted. But Isabelle’s visions of a happy, profitable match come to a halt when she witnesses her fiancé commit a horrific crime—and no one believes her.   Gregory denies all, and Isabelle’s mother insists she marry as planned rather than drag them into scandal. Fearing for her life, Isabelle can think of only one escape: she feigns a mental breakdown that renders her mute, and is brought to Bellevue sanitarium. There she finds a friend in fellow patient Mary Todd Lincoln, committed after her husband’s assassination.   In this unlikely refuge, the women become allies, even as Isabelle maintains a veneer of madness for her own protection. But sooner or later, she must reclaim her voice. And if she uses it to expose the truth, Isabelle risks far more than she could ever imagine.

***

Was this a good read? Well…it was just okay.  I kept reading to find out what would happen.  The plot was interesting.  But it didn’t flow and it left unanswered questions. Why was Gregory living a lie? Why was Isabelle’s mother not willing to give Isabelle the benefit of a doubt, when Isabelle never had told a lie? Another big question was, why is Mary Todd Lincoln in this book at all?  It added nothing to the story.

The book definitely was short on character development.  Side characters, like Isabelle’s friend Lucy, seemed to do things that made no sense.  Such as Lucy’s trip to Montana and back again without even telling her fiancé that she was leaving.  A sanitarium in the late 1800’s would not be a social spa like it is characterized here.  If you read this just for the story then it is just okay but be prepared to find fault with much of the action and characterization.

(This is the kind of book that drives people to say “I think I will write a book.  I can certainly improve on something like this.”)

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Advance Review-Wild Wicked Scot by Julia London

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Title: Wild Wicked Scot (Highland Grooms, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance/Highlanders

Author: Julia London

Publisher: Harlequin Digital, Dec. 27, 2016 (pre-order available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 384

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

Wicked intrigue unfolds as an unlikely marriage leads to a path of risky desire in the lush, green Scottish Highlands 

Born into riches and groomed in English luxury, Margot Armstrong didn’t belong in a Scottish chieftain’s devil-may-care world. Three years ago she fled their marriage of convenience and hasn’t looked back—except to relive the moments spent in wild, rugged Arran McKenzie’s passionate embrace. But as their respective countries’ fragile unity threatens to unravel, Margot must return to her husband to uncover his role in the treachery before her family can be accused of it.

Red-haired, green-eyed Margot was Arran’s beautiful bride. Her loss has haunted him, but her return threatens everything he has gained. As the Highland mists carry whispers of an English plot to seize McKenzie territory, he must outmaneuver her in games of espionage…and seduction. But even as their secrets tangle together, there’s nothing to prevent love from capturing them both and leading them straight into danger.

***

Margot was a spoiled daughter of an Earl, she was naïve but beautiful.  When her father saw a chance to make a profitable alliance with a “barbaric” Scot he didn’t even consider Margot’s wishes. Married, this teenager was thrust into a culture she couldn’t comprehend, a society that disapproved of her being English and a husband who wasn’t prepared to cater to her insecurities or whims.  After four months and yet another row with Arran, her husband, she left for her father’s home where she stayed for 4 years. That is until her father insisted she return to her husband and find evidence of his treason.

This is the first book in Julia London’s “Highland Grooms” series.  A terrific start! The characterizations of all the characters is spot on and well developed.  The story is filled with sizzling chemistry between Arran and Margot.  There is a well-developed arc of Margot going from naïve teenager to a take charge strong woman. This book is elegantly written and very entertaining.  It is a long book and it does slow down a bit in the middle but otherwise it is action packed and a hang on for the ride book.  The sexual tension is what holds these two protagonists together until they learn to fall in love.

                                                                         

 

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Merry Christmas At Deet’s

Here is a peek at my house today.  Soon Paul and I will open our gifts and then I will start getting dinner ready.  This year Roast Beef is on the menu.  Friends will join us for dinner.  I set the table last night so I wouldn’t have to fuss this morning.  We ate breakfast on the little table on our lanai. I hope your Christmas is very Merry!

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The greenery is from the Holly tree in our front yard. A bit different than the traditional holly bush.

merry-xmas

 

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Happy Hanukkah from Deet

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To all my Jewish followers a blessed, light filled, joyous, Hanukkah!

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