Monthly Archives: March 2014

Recent Release Review- What A Reckless Rogue Needs by Vicky Dreiling

Title: What A Reckless Rogue Needs(book #2, Sinful Scoundrels Series)

What a wicked rogue needs

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Vicky Dreiling

Publisher: Forever, March 25, 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

WILL THE ROGUE’S PERFECT PLAN . . . Colin Brockhurst, Earl of Ravenshire, has no desire to wed, this season or any other. So when his father demands he give up his wild ways and take a wife, Colin refuses. But his father raises the stakes and threatens to sell the ancestral home if Colin doesn’t comply. Now Colin has no choice but to find a wife. Unfortunately, the only woman he wants is the one whose heart he broke years ago.

LEAD TO THE PERFECT SEDUCTION? Regardless of the ton‘s whispers, Lady Angeline Brenham won’t settle for anything less than true love. After rejecting more than her share of suitable suitors, spinsterhood looms before her-until the devilishly handsome Colin reappears in her life with a proposition. Angeline vows to keep her feet on the ground and her heart in check. That is, until one searing kiss melts her resolve and reignites a burning desire for more . . .

**

So much for book descriptions…Angeline cried off on her engagement to a dastardly rogue who tarnished her reputation and the Ton has been on her case ever since. She pretty much resigned herself to spinsterhood. While at a house party with old family friends, Colin’s family, she endeavors to help Colin secure his ancestral home. They agree to a trial engagement for a marriage of convenience that doesn’t look to be working out.

Ms Dreiling has come up with an original plot, characters we can sympathize with and some very hot and steamy scenes. There are interesting side characters; Colin’s apparently grumpy and obstinate father, his sweet stepmother, Angeline’s father who is wracked with guilt over Angeline’s former engagement gone wrong and siblings that are looking forward to their debut. This is a lovely romance novel with all the will-she or won’t-she that we love, and a hunky handsome hero that reforms before our eyes.

Sinful Scoundrels Series:

.5- A Season for Sin (novella, Sept. 2012)

1.What a Wicked Earl Wants (May, 2013)

2.What a Reckless Rogue Needs(March, 2014)

3. What a Devilish Duke Desires (To Be Announced)

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Release Day Review- Night of Pleasure by Delilah Marvelle

Title: Night of Pleasure (Book #4, The School of Gallantry)

Night of Pleasure

 Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency

Author: Delilah Marvelle

Publisher: Wind Tree press, March 28, 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from DelilahMarvelle.com:

An arranged marriage is daunting, but not as daunting as seducing a spouse whose passions you do not understand… 

Derek Charles Holbrook, Viscount Banfield, knew his fate since he was seventeen when his father announced his union to the beautiful but mysterious American girl by the name of Miss Grey.To protect the troubled estate, Derek submits to his father’s wishes, not realizing he’s about to entangle himself in a hell of a lot more than marriage. 

Miss Clementine Henrietta Grey may be worth millions, but not a single coin has ever bought her a smidge of happiness. When she marries the charasmatic and dashing Viscount Banfield, whose only strife in life appears to be the uneven seams in his coat, she finds that siring the heir he wants requires far more than her heart is prepared to give.

Unable to seduce his overly-serious and reluctant wife, Derek realizes his dreams of creating a loving family has turned into a nightmare. But with the unexpected assistance of a retired courtesan and her outrageous school, Derek and Clementine discover that passion is a language spoken not just from the body, but from the mind, heart and soul.

**

Derek is honorable, handsome, happy and HOT! Clementine is cautious and so full of anxiety about marriage that she plans to run away.  Delilah Marvelle brings these characters to life with her understanding of human foibles and desires.  Ms Marvelle gives us Madame de Maitenon, the Mistress of The School of Gallantry, who is a Regency equivalent of a modern day psychologist. This is a delightful regency romance that is heartfelt and sexy. 

Not having read the previous books in this series did not create a problem since this book can be read as a standalone but you will want to read the others in the series I am sure.

 

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Review-Once In A Lifetime by Jill Shalvis

Title:  Once In A Lifetime ( A Lucky Harbor Novel)

Once in a lifetime

 Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Author: Jill Shalvis

Publisher: Hachette, Feb 2014

Source: Purchase

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

SOMETIMES WRONG IS OH-SO-RIGHT

After a wrenching loss, Ben McDaniel tried to escape his grief by working in dangerous, war-torn places like Africa and the Middle East. Now he’s back in his hometown and face-to-face with Aubrey Wellington, the hot-as-hell woman who is trouble with a capital T. Family and friends insist she’s not the one to ease his pain, but Aubrey sparks an intense desire that gives Ben hope for the future.

Determined to right the wrongs of her past, Aubrey is working hard to make amends. But by far, the toughest challenge to her plan is sexy, brooding Ben – even though he has absolutely no idea what she’s done . . .

Can this unlikely couple defy the odds and win over the little town of Lucky Harbor?

**

The writing is good, the premise is good but I couldn’t find anything very different or new in this novel.  I liked that Aubrey was trying to make amends for her past but I was annoyed that Ben thought what she was doing was any of his business.  He was obsessed with finding out what she was doing.  She deserved some privacy.  Other than his stalker like persona, he was actually a guy to be admired.

Ms. Shalvis is a writer who can inject humor and pathos into her writing and keep us turning pages.

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Review- Hidden by Catherine McKenzie

Title:  Hidden

Hidden

 Genre: Women’s fiction

Author: Catherine McKenzie

Publisher: New Harvest

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: alluded to

Description from Amazon.com:

While walking home from work one evening, Jeff Manning is struck by a car and killed. Two women fall to pieces at the news: his wife, Claire, and his co-worker Tish. Reeling from her loss, Claire must comfort her grieving son as well as contend with funeral arrangements, well-meaning family members, and the arrival of Jeff’s estranged brother, who was her ex-boyfriend. Tish volunteers to attend the funeral on her company’s behalf, but only she knows the true risk of inserting herself into the wreckage of Jeff’s life.

Told through the three voices of Jeff, Tish, and Claire, Hidden explores the complexity of relationships, the repercussions of our personal choices, and the responsibilities we have to the ones we love.

**

Having read Ms. McKenzie’s novel ARRANGED, I was expecting a good read and that is precisely what I got.  I could not put this book down. The author brings you into the lives of these people and you somehow have a vested interest in how things turn out.  For each character, no matter if a central character or a side character, we feel their pain and concerns. We are privy to their personality foibles and pluses.  There is understanding of a marriage and of a liaison and there is no judgment, just the results.

I highly recommend this book.

 

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Review- Vampire Most Wanted by Lynsay Sands

Title: Vampire Most Wanted (An Argeneau Novel)

Vampire Most Wanted

 

 Genre: Paranormal Romance (Vampire)

Author: Lynsay Sands

Publisher:  Avon, Feb 2014

Source: Free for review from the Amazon Vine Program

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

For Basha Argeneau, anything is better than facing her estranged family. Even hiding out in sweltering southern California. But when a sexy immortal in black shows up determined to bring her back to the clan, she’ll do anything to keep far, far away from the past she can’t outrun.

Marcus Notte isn’t here to play games—especially not with someone as crazy as the infamous blonde. Asked by Lucian Argeneau to bring her back for questioning, Marcus is determined to carry out Lucian’s request—no matter how the seductive little mind-reading vamp feels about it.

Basha doesn’t mind fighting fire with fire, especially with a hot immortal involved. But if he wants to take her away, he’ll have to catch her first . . .

**

This is not the best in the Argeneau Series.  I could not get into the hero and heroine.  Throughout the book I kept thinking that caring about them or the plot was going to happen at any moment and it just didn’t occur.  I did like the Carnie setting and it felt like Sands did some major research in how traveling carnivals operate.  The story line was okay and had merit but no pizzaz.  It felt like Vincent, Jackie, Mirabeau and Tiny were just thrown in the mix willy-nilly to show that yes, this is an Argeneau novel.  Still, Lynsay sands can write and even when it doesn’t deliver like some of her other offerings it is still worth the read.

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Book Art, Fabulous Book Art of Malena Valcarcel

Book Art, fabulous art created from the pages of books.  Some people have a hard time with the mutilation of books but as we know not all books are worthy of infinite shelf life.  Some have been water damaged, some have been trampled and some are just dying of old age.  But to those who don’t like the idea of Book Art then just don’t continue with this post.  For the rest of us who are just amazed and enthralled here is the fabulous art of  Malena Valcarcel.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/MalenaValcarcel/about?ref=announce

Bk art flowers M Bk art haunted hotel Bk art ring Bk Art Tree M Bk art Tutorial M 14.31

Bk Art butterfly M 90.24 Bk Art Butterfly Sculpt M 141.81

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Deet’s Life-Happy St Patrick’s Day

 

St Patrick's Day happyStPatricks

Today we are all a little bit Irish

Who was St. Patrick? He was the priest who drove the snakes out of Ireland.

St. Patrick's Day cartoon

St Patrick’s Day Irish Proverbs

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
An old Irish proverb

May those who love us, love us.
For those who don’t love us, May God turn their hearts.
And if God can’t turn their hearts, May he turn their ankles so we’ll know them by their limping!
An old Irish proverb

 

Laughter is brightest where food is best.
An old Irish proverb

 

As they say in Ireland:…. “may you be forty years in heaven before the devil knows you’re dead”.
An old Irish proverb

St Patrick's Day Irish-Stew

Recipe for Irish stew:
Get some meat, some potatoes and a lot of Guinness.
Drink all of the beer. Forget about the stew.

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Review- The Best Man by Kristan Higgins

Title:  The Best Man (Blue Heron, book #1)

The Best Man

 Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Author: Kristan Higgins

Publisher:  Harlequin, HQN, 2013

Source: Free for review from the Amazon Vine Program

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Sometimes the best man is the one you least expect…

Faith Holland left her hometown after being jilted at the altar. Now a little older and wiser, she’s ready to return to the Blue Heron Winery, her family’s vineyard, to confront the ghosts of her past, and maybe enjoy a glass of red. After all, there’s some great scenery there….

Like Levi Cooper, the local police chief—and best friend of her former fiancé. There’s a lot about Levi that Faith never noticed, and it’s not just those deep green eyes. The only catch is she’s having a hard time forgetting that he helped ruin her wedding all those years ago. If she can find a minute amidst all her family drama to stop and smell the rosé, she just might find a reason to stay at Blue Heron, and finish that walk down the aisle.

**

This is my first Kristan Higgins book.  Yes, I know, I had my head in the sand but in my own defense, I was having trouble with the Contemporary Romance genre.  I kept reading books in that genre that just left me “meh” or “blah” or “good grief why?”.  Obviously, I did not read the right authors.  Because when I finished this book I immediately picked up book #2 in this series, The Perfect Match, (Don’t you just love it when there are a bunch of books in a series already written and you don’t have to wait for the next one?).  Now back to The Best Man:

Levi is alpha all the way, which is very important to Faith since she had a years long romantic relationship with a man who left her at the altar, Levi’s best friend. Levi and Faith never liked each other.  Levi thought her a rich, goody two shoes and she thought Levi just a royal PIA who ruined her wedding.  Opposites attract.

Kristan Higgins gives us a mix of laugh out loud moments along with emotional teary scenes.  Her dialog is so spot on that it is like listening to your own family argue or maybe your own inner dialog.  Faith’s delightful, if slightly dysfunctional, but more normal than not, family is well characterized and will provide protagonists for future books in the series.   Other side characters are also book worthy.  The sexual tension was pronounced between Faith and Levi although neither initially wanted to admit that there was an attraction and once acted on they were having trouble understanding how to deal with friends and family who knew.  Delightfully portrayed!

Yes, I really liked this book and the very real feeling of the characters.  The writing was terrific.  If like me you have yet to be seduced by Contemporary Romance books, then I highly recommend this book to start your affair.

Kristan Higgins Book List in Order

Fools Rush In
Catch of the Day
Just One of the Guys
Too Good To Be True
The Next Best Thing
All I Ever Wanted
My One and Only
Until There Was You
Somebody To Love *

The Best Man (Blue Heron #1)
The Perfect Match (Blue Heron #2)
Waiting On You (Blue Heron #3)
In Your Dreams (Blue Heron #4)

 

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Advance Review- Fool Me Twice by Meredith Duran

Title:  Fool Me Twice

Fool Me Twice

 Genre:  Historical Romance/Victorian

Author:  Meredith Duran

Publisher: Pocket Books, March 25, 2014(available for preorder; Kindle $1.99, Paperback$5.39)

Source:  Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

A LADY WITH A SECRET

Running for her life, exhausted and out of options, Olivia Holladay wants nothing more than the chance to make a home for herself. So when she realizes that the infamous Duke of Marwick might hold the key to her freedom, she boldly disguises herself as the newest and bravest in a long line of the duke’s notoriously temperamental housekeepers. Little does she know that the wickedly handsome Alastair de Grey has very different plans for her. . . .

A MAN WITH A PASSION—FOR VENGEANCE

As his new employee, Olivia is a fearless upstart. As a woman, the daring redhead is just what Alastair needs to rouse him from darkness to the siren call of revenge. He has suffered a betrayal so deep that he will use whatever means necessary to destroy his enemies—even his brazen and beautiful domestic. But his vengeful plan fails to account for his single weakness: an irresistible and growing passion for the enigmatic Olivia.

**

I think I will characterize this book as a “Historical Romantic Suspense” rather than just a Historical Romance.  There are so many delightful surprises and twists just when we think that we have things figured out.  Olivia’s history unfolds slowly throughout the book and I couldn’t help but make some totally unfounded assumptions that proved to be totally incorrect.  Alastair is such a broken shell that it is magic the way Ms. Duran brings him back to life through Olivia.  There is an evil villain that drives the story and the revenge that Alistair seeks and Olivia’s desperation.

The plotting of this novel is superb, the characterization is superb, the dialog is believeable and the setting of Victorian England is brought to life.  This book deserves 5 stars and 5 more stars.

( I am posting this review in advance of publication because the price of the book is very low on preorder and you will want to get it.  Trust me, this is a good one!)

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Review- The Luckiest Lady In London by Sherry Thomas

Title: The Luckiest Lady In London

The Luckiest Lady In London

 Genre:  Historical Romance/Victorian

Author: Sherry Thomas

Publisher: Penguin, 2013

Source: Purchase

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Felix Rivendale, the Marquess of Wrenworth, is The Ideal Gentleman, a man all men want to be and all women want to possess. Even Felix himself almost believes this golden image. But underneath is a damaged soul soothed only by public adulation.

Louisa Cantwell needs to marry well to support her sisters. She does not, however, want Lord Wrenworth—though he seems inexplicably interested in her. She mistrusts his outward perfection, and the praise he garners everywhere he goes. Still, when he is the only man to propose at the end of the London season, she reluctantly accepts.

Louisa does not understand her husband’s mysterious purposes, but she cannot deny the pleasure her body takes in his touch. Nor can she deny the pull this magnetic man exerts upon her. But does she dare to fall in love with a man so full of dark secrets, any one of which could devastate her, if she were to get any closer?

**

Can a push-pull, cat and mouse, game of lust and seduction lead to a happily ever after? The game that Louisa and Felix play is not for the faint of heart.  It is full of lies and machinations and one up-manship.  All this is deftly handled by the superb writing of author Sherry Thomas.

Deliciously clever dialog underscores the sizzling sexual tension that vibrates between the protagonists.  This story is all about the manipulations devised by the hero and heroine.  They have made love into a competition.   Ms Thomas deftly handles the characterization of Felix and Louisa so that we not only understand their dispositions and moral fiber, or lack thereof, but we sympathize with them also.   Side characters play only very minor roles.

I highly recommend this book to all romance readers.

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