Advance Review- Compelled by D.B. Reynolds

Title: Compelled: A Cyn and Raphael Novella (Vampires In America, 10.5)

Compelled

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Fantasy

Author: D.B. Reynolds

Publisher: ImaJinn, April 29, 2016 pre-order available

Pages: 128

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

VAMPIRE . . . Raphael is a power like the world has never seen, the force behind the first ever alliance of North American lords, Cyn’s mate, lover, master.

SORCERER . . . Nick Katsaros, deceptively charming, ancient and commanding, driven by vengeance and a devastating loss, Cyn’s friend and one-time lover.

HUMAN . . . Cynthia “Cyn” Leighton, beautiful, sexy, and smart, the woman both men desire.

It was only a few months ago that Raphael lay helpless and dying, taken by treachery, while Cyn fought to save him. Unexpectedly, it was Nick who provided the key to his freedom. In exchange, he secured a promise that they would help him find and recover the same magical artifact that had been used to imprison Raphael. But when he calls on them to keep that promise, it will be Cyn who pays the price. Torn between the two powerful men, struggling to keep them from killing each other, she undertakes a desperate search that will find her fighting for her life against a madman who wants her for himself.

**

Once again, in the fabulous Vampires In America series, we are treated to our favorite lovers, human Cyn and vampire Raphael. This time they have sorcerer Nick Katsaros calling in a promise to help him find the magical Amber Manacles. Can Cyn keep Raphael and Nick from causing each other bodily harm? The power of Raphael bounces off the page.  The mysterious Nick is more subtle and his power seems more controlled than Raphael. But then Raphael is jealous of Cyn’s past with Nick.

I personally can’t get enough of Cyn and her vampire but this deeper introduction to Nick is putting him on my book boyfriend radar.  Who wouldn’t want an ancient, all powerful, handsome as sin sorcerer? Well, hells bells, this guy is certainly no Dumbldore.  And since Cyn is already totally occupied by Raphael that leaves Nick up for grabs and I call dibs.

This is a quick read, only 128 pages, but it is full of steamy scenes and lots of action all well written by D.B. Reynolds.  Nick will get his own series so we don’t have to say good-bye.  My only objection is that I wanted more.  Also that Cyn really wasn’t very smart and she made a big mistake.  I really like Our Cyn to not make these big faux pas.

Can you tell I’m totally invested in this series??  I highly recommend this swift paced, superbly entertaining novella as well as the entire series. This is a standalone novella with informative reference to past interactions between the characters.

 

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Recent Release Review- Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Title: Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice

Eligible

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Curtis Sittenfeld

Publisher: Random House, April 19, 2016

Pages: 512

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.   Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.   Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .   And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.   **

This was an absolute fun read.  Bringing Liz and Darcy into the modern day is not a new idea but this is the first one I’ve read that was so page-turningly delightful.  Curtis Sittenfeld is masterful at creating the overachieving Liz, the sweet Jane, the bookish Mary and the wild and crazy Kitty and Lydia.  Darcy was hunky and Bingley was just as you’d expect, besotted with Jane. Sittenfeld weaves all the nuances that we loved in Pride and Prejudice into this very updated version. There is a transgender marriage as well as a reality TV show.  Liz is no demure woman she wants Darcy but only for sex.  No one is more surprised that she fell in love with him than Liz. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are both pretty much like the parents in the original book; he being sarcastic, witty and oblivious and she being chronically overwhelmed by modern mores, political correctness and common sense.

Did I find 512 pages too many? Yes.  Did I still read every word? You betcha! Perhaps Janeites will not like Ms. Sittenfeld’s Bennet family but this is a work with fine characterization, and lovely prose and humor, not to mention a family we may all relate to on some level.

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E-Book on Sale- Paris In Love by Eloisa James

Today on Amazon, B&N for $1.99

Paris in Love

 

From book description:

In 2009, New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James took a leap that many people dream about: She sold her house, took a sabbatical from her job as a Shakespeare professor, and moved her family to Paris. This memoir chronicles her joyful year in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Eloisa revels in the ordinary pleasures of life—discovering corner museums that tourists overlook, chronicling Frenchwomen’s sartorial triumphs, walking from one end of Paris to another. She copes with her Italian husband’s notions of quality time; her two hilarious children, ages eleven and fifteen, as they navigate schools—not to mention puberty—in a foreign language; and her mother-in-law’s raised eyebrow in the kitchen (even as she overfeeds Milo, the family dog). Paris in Love invites the reader into the life of a most enchanting family, framed by la ville de l’amour.

 

My 5-star Review from March 2012:

I loved this book!! I am a fan of Ms James’ historical romances but I have to say this is my favorite book of hers. Following a diagnosis of breast cancer and subsequent treatments, she packs up her family for a year of living in Paris, France. There is humor in her writing as she has us follow along on the escapades of her precocious ten year old daughter and her fourteen year old son. They alternately love and hate their year in Paris. Eloisa spends time sampling many restaurants, cooking and is a died-in-the-wool people watcher, especially of those Parisian women who dress so exquisitely. Her Italian born husband, Allesandro, is on a mission to master the French language and has a conversation companion, Florent, who wants to speak Italian. Together they help each other to master the languages and we learn of Florent’s unrequited love life.

The year is told through essays interspersed among journal-type entry paragraphs. The whole works very well. I felt like I was walking down the streets of Paris right along with her.

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Review- The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

Title: The Painted Girls

The Painted Girls

 

Genre: Historical Fiction

Author: Cathy Marie Buchanan

Publisher: Riverhead Books, Jan. 2013

Pages: 369

Source: Public Library

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5-not explicit

Description from Amazon.com:

A heartrending, gripping novel about two sisters in Belle Époque Paris and the young woman forever immortalized as muse for Edgar Degas’ Little Dancer Aged Fourteen.

1878 Paris. Following their father’s sudden death, the van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages, and with the small amount their laundress mother earns disappearing into the absinthe bottle, eviction from their lodgings seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opéra, where for a scant seventeen francs a week, she will be trained to enter the famous ballet. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds work as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s naturalist masterpiece L’Assommoir. Marie throws herself into dance and is soon modeling in the studio of Edgar Degas, where her image will forever be immortalized as Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. There she meets a wealthy male patron of the ballet, but might the assistance he offers come with strings attached? Meanwhile Antoinette, derailed by her love for the dangerous Émile Abadie, must choose between honest labor and the more profitable avenues open to a young woman of the Parisian demimonde.  Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural, and societal change, The Painted Girls is a tale of two remarkable sisters rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of “civilized society.” In the end, each will come to realize that her salvation, if not survival, lies with the other.

**

This book is based on the true story of the fourteen year old ballet dancer, Marie Van Goethem, who modeled for Edgar Degas’s famous statue Little Dancer.

Little_dancer

It is also the story of her family; an alcoholic mother, older sister Antoinette who became a prostitute and younger sister Charlotte who became a rather famous ballerina. Left to fend for themselves upon the death of their husband and father the family did what they had to do to house, feed and clothe themselves. For penniless Parisian women in the 1870’s there were menial jobs (the mother became a laundress) or prostitution (The mother and Antoinette) or go on the stage as a ballerina or actress (the route that Marie and Charlotte took).

I enjoyed this book for the realistic look at poor women in the late 1800’s.  Not so much different in Paris as in the USA or England.  It is a well-researched book and the look into the ballet was also very interesting.  There were men of wealth who came to observe the young ballerinas and would offer some their “protection” which was not always protective.  Marie was fortunate in that Edgar Degas paid her to only model.  But later she met another man who wanted more from her.

This is a very slow starting book and if I had not been reading it for my book club discussion I might have given up.  However at about the 150 page point this became a very engaging story. I realize that not all readers are willing to wait that long into a book but this one did pay off in the end.

BTW- My book club agrees with my review here.

 

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recent Release Review- The Redemption of Julian Price by Victoria Vane

Title: The Redemption of Julian Price

The Redemption of Julian Price

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Vitoria Vane

Publisher: Vane Publishing LLC, April 2016

Pages: 197

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

She gave him a chance to bury his past… but the price would be his heart Burdened by the past…Orphaned at a young age and left to run wild, at eighteen Julian Price joins the fight against Napoleon in the hope of attaining honor. Devastated when his best friend, Thomas, is killed in battle, Julian returns home burdened with guilt, only to find his wastrel uncle has squandered his inheritance. Desperate to live her own life… Facing a bleak future caring for her aging mother and raising her brother’s children, Henrietta Houghton believes her chance at a real life died with Thomas, the only man who ever wanted her. But Henrietta is still full of dreams. When her wealthy aunt offers her a gift of ten thousand pounds, Henrietta finally has the chance to choose her own destiny. Everything has a price…With a fortune at her command, Henrietta offers Julian a marriage of convenience, unaware that she really offers Julian a means of salvation—not just his fortune, but his very soul.

**

This book was a delight.  Henrietta is a heroine that we all can love.  She is intelligent and forthright.  She grasps the problem and seeks a solution.  Well, her notorious Aunt helps the solution along. Julian is Henrietta’s childhood friend.  He thought of her as a pal for those formative years until one day she started maturing and she was no longer allowed to cavort with her twin brother Henry and friends Julian and Thomas.  Julian went off to war and came back to find his uncle had squandered his fortune.  Now in debt and troubled by the war Julian feels his only recourse is to become a mercenary soldier. Henrietta has other ideas.

This is a lovely story of a woman who knows what she wants and a man who is not too obtuse to grasp the carrot when it is dangled.  The romance was always there and it is wonderful to see how the characters discover it.

This is a short book, only 197 pages, so it is a quick and most satisfying read.  Highly recommend

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Why I read romance

From Stephanie G. over at Paranormal Haven-

I spotted the hashtag #ireadromance on Twitter the other day and it got me thinking about the reasons I read romance.  Other than because I damn well feel like it that is.   I read roma…

Source: Why I read romance

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Recent Release Review- Luck Is No Lady by Amy Sandas

Title: Luck Is No Lady (Fallen Ladies, book #1)

Luck is no lady

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Amy Sandas

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, April 2016

Pages: 416

Source: Free for review from the publisher.

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Gently bred Emma Chadwick always assumed she’d live and die the daughter of a gentleman. But when her father’s death reveals a world of staggering debt and dangerous moneylenders, she must risk her good name and put her talent for mathematics to use, taking a position as bookkeeper at London’s most notorious gambling hell. Surrounded by vice and corruption on all sides, it is imperative no one discovers Emma’s shameful secret or her reputation-and her life-will be ruined.

But Roderick Bentley, the hell’s sinfully wealthy owner, awakens a hunger Emma cannot deny. Drawn deep into an underworld of high stakes gambling and reckless overindulgence, she soon discovers that in order to win the love of a ruthless scoundrel, she will have to play the game…and give in to the pleasure of falling from grace.

**

Emma is drawn to Roderick but they are from different levels of society.  She is the daughter of an earl and he is the bastard son of an earl. They both know that there is no future for them.  Emma needs to protect her own reputation and that of her sisters in their first debutante season.

This is a sublimely sensual, slow developing romance full of heated encounters with breathless chemistry between the hero and heroine.  Ms. Sandas can write these scenes lusciously.   Emma keeps her problems to herself and we long for her to share them with Roderick because we know he can help.  There is a bit of confusion when a character is talked about but not actually introduced to the reader.  His name is Nightshade and is very mysterious, so perhaps we will find out more about him in future books of this series along with Emma’s sisters’ stories.

I can recommend this book for the elegantly written romance.  It is a page turner, I was up until the wee hours not willing to put it down.

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Recent Release Review- Good Dukes Wear Black by Manda Collins

Title: Good Dukes wear Black (The Lords of Anarchy, book #3)

Good Dukes Wear Black

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Manda Collins

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, April 5, 2016

Pages: 318

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

LOVE IS ALWAYS A WILD RIDE.

A writer for the Ladies Gazette, Miss Ophelia Dauntry’s passion is her pen. So when she sees a fellow writer kidnapped before her eyes—and the trail of evidence leads to the Lords of Anarchy—Ophelia vows to find her friend and take down the notorious London driving club in her column. But before she can argue her case, she needs the inside scoop from its newest leader: Piers Hamilton, the Duke of Trent.

Headstrong, handsome Trent joined the Lords of Anarchy after a decade in the British Army. He’s made it his business to tame the misbehavior within the driving club—and the infuriatingly attractive Ophelia is only getting in his way. The deeper she digs into the case, the more she puts her own life at risk. Can Trent convince Ophelia to trust him to seek justice…and find protection, and passion, in his arms?

**

Ophelia and Trent are not strangers to each other.  They have often been together socially with his dear friends, Lord Lisle and the Earl of Mainwaring and their wives Hermione and Leonora.  However they have never been alone together until the day Ophelia shows up at his door after the attack on her friend Maggie.  Trent is incensed at the violence against Ophelia and Maggie and agrees to help Ophelia discover the whereabouts of her dear friend. Thus thrown together in their search they become attracted to each other.

Manda Collins has a way with pulling the reader into her plots that are filled with mystery, action and adventure.  The simmering, sensual romance is like the frosting on the cake.  Trent is a hero we love as were Lisle and Mainwaring in the first two books in the series. Ophelia is a determined heroine but too often is foolish at risking her neck. And Trent should have realized that she can’t be left alone or she will cause more trouble.

This was a quick read and will certainly be enjoyed by those who like mystery and action along with their sexy romance.

The Lords of Anarchy Series:

  1. A Good Rake is Hard to Find (Leonora and Freddy)
  2. Good Earl Gone Bad (Hermione and Jasper)
  3. Good Dukes wear Black (Ophelia and Trent)

 

 

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Advance Review- How I Married A Marquess by Anna Harrington

Title: How I Married A Marquess ( The Secret Life Of Scoundrels, book #3)

How I Married A Marquess

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Anna Harrington

Publisher: Forever, April 26, 2016

Pages: 368

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

A SHOCKING DECEPTION . . . Josephine Carlisle, adopted daughter of a baron, is officially on the shelf. But the silly, marriage-minded misses in the ton can have their frilly dresses and their seasons in London, for all she cares. Josie has her freedom and her family . . . until an encounter with a dark, devilishly handsome stranger leaves her utterly breathless at a house party. His wicked charm intrigues her, but that’s where it ends. For Josie has a little secret . . . . . . LEADS TO AN EXQUISITE SEDUCTION Espionage was Thomas Matteson, Marquess of Chesney’s game-until a tragic accident cost him his career. Now to salvage his reputation and return to the life he loves, the marquess must find the criminal who’s been robbing London’s rich and powerful. He’s no fool-he knows Josie, with her wild chestnut hair and rapier-sharp wit, is hiding something and he won’t rest until he unravels her mysteries, one by one. But he never expected to be the one under arrest-body and soul . . .

**

The end of the SECRET LIFE OF SCOUNDRELS trilogy!! This story of Thomas and Josie is a fitting finale.  I knew from the first book in this series that I had discovered a very talented author and the three books in this trilogy certainly never let me down.

Josie has secrets that she can’t reveal and Thomas is all about finding out secrets.  At a house party they meet and there is an overwhelming attraction between them.  But Josie must guard her secret and she tries to avoid Thomas because she feels he is too good at ferreting out secrets.

There are plenty of sizzling encounters and lots of action.  There is also a well written ending to this book that I will not spoil because I know you are going to read this one until dawns early light.

Although this is certainly a standalone novel, I do suggest that you will get so much more from this book if you read the two that go before.  This book not only contains the love story of Thomas Matteson, a former spy in service to the crown, but it also features two of his fellow spies Edward and Nathaniel.  They are integral in aiding Thomas to rout the bad guy and reading that part of this book was more meaningful having read their stories in the previous two novels of the series. Therefore I suggest you treat yourself to the entire series and start at the beginning for a truly wonderful historical romance read.

The Secret Life of Scoundrels:

  1. Dukes Are Forever
  2. Along Came A Rogue
  3. How I Married A Marquess

     

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Recent Release Review- London’s Glory by Christopher Fowler

Title: London’s Glory(The Lost Cases of Bryant & May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit)

London's Glory

Genre: Mystery Stories

Author: Christopher Fowler

Publisher: Alibi, March 2016

Pages: 243

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: N/A

Description from Amazon.com:

Arthur Bryant and John May of the Peculiar Crimes Unit are London’s craftiest and bravest detectives—and there’s no better pair to solve the city’s most confounding crimes. In this riveting eBook collection of mystery short stories, available together for the first time, Christopher Fowler takes Bryant and May on a series of twisting adventures and brings readers behind the scenes of his beloved novels.   Includes a preview of Christopher Fowler’s new Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery, Bryant & May and the Burning Man!

In “Bryant & May in the Field,” a woman is found with her throat slashed in a snowy park, yet the killer managed to escape without leaving any footprints. In “Bryant & May and the Nameless Woman,” a businessman drowns in the pool of a posh club, and the only suspect is a young woman who remains almost too calm during questioning. And in “Bryant & May Ahoy!” the pair go on holiday on a friend’s yacht in Turkey, but Bryant realizes there’s something fishy about their fellow passengers. From London’s grandest mansions to its darkest corners, from the Christmas department of Selfridges to a sinister traveling sideshow, there’s no scene too strange for the Peculiar Crimes Unit and the indefatigable detectives at its helm.

**

An author of renown, Christopher Fowler does not disappoint in these 10 short mystery stories.  Some are Whodunit, some are why did they do it and some are how in the world did they do it? All are quick easy and delightful reads centering in and around the city of London and the detective duo of Arthur Bryant and John Mays, two detectives that are getting on in years.  Each story is introduced by the author with a reference to other well-known mystery writers who influenced this particular story.  Also there is a lengthy, very interesting Introductory chapter to the book that discusses many well-known or not so famous mystery writers and their influence on the authors writing.  This is an easy to pick up and put down book for when you have a few minutes to indulge in a well written mystery.

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