Monthly Archives: April 2014

Recent Release Review- The Unexpected Duchess by Valerie Bowman

Title: The Unexpected Duchess

The Unexpected Duchess

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Valerie Bowman

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, April 29, 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

IN THIS BATTLE OF WITS

Lady Lucy Upton’s tongue may be too sharp to attract suitors but her heart is good, and when her painfully shy friend Cassandra needs help she devises a brilliant scheme to help her discourage an unwanted suitor, the Duke of Claringdon. Lucy will hide behind the hedgerow and tell Cass just what to say to discourage the Duke of Claringdon…but it turns out that he’s made of sterner stuff than either of them anticipated. And Lucy is shocked to discover that tangling with the tenacious man is the most fun she’s had in ages.

KISSES ARE THE BEST WEAPON

Lord Derek Hunt made a promise to his dying friend to marry the demure Cassandra, and for a man who wants nothing more than peace and quiet after the horrors of war, she’ll make the perfect bride. If only the impudent Miss Upton will let him court the girl! Doing battle is the last thing on his mind, but bantering with Lucy behind the bushes is too tempting to resist. And in The Unexpected Duchess, the spoils of this war just may be true love…

**

Yes, Lucy is determined to help her friend Cassandra get rid of the attentions of Derick. Lucy is not about to give up and comes to enjoy her exchange of barbs, snide remarks and ultimatums with the Duke. The Duke is also enjoying the constant debates. The game goes on until …..well… you will want to read until whatever.

This is a lighthearted farce, with lots of kisses and more. Lucy is a bit stubborn. Cassandra is a bit wimpy, or is she playing at wimpy? Jane is another friend who always seems to be sparing with Lucy’s cousin, Garrett, but then the two are always disappearing, hm-m-m maybe a hint at another book to come.

This is my first introduction to Valerie Bowman’s books but I will be reading more. What a delight to find an author who is so accomplished at bringing forth stunning characterization and a plot filled with good writing and humorous moments.

 

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Review- Raphael/Parish by Alexandra Ivy and Laura Wright (Bayou Heat book 1)

Title: Raphael/Parish (Bayou Heat Series, book #1)

Raphael Parish

Genre: Paranormal Romance/ Shifter

Author: Alexandra Ivy and Laura Wright

Publisher: Deborah Raleigh, April 2013

Source: Purchase Kindle $.99

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

New Year. New World. New Species. In the depths of the bayous lives a secret race of puma shifters. The creation of a powerful magic, they have lived in peace until the threat of extinction drives them to seek the world beyond their homelands. Now the Pantera must discover the answer to their dying magic and halt an ancient enemy before it can destroy them all. RAPHAEL The brilliant and dangerous diplomat of the Pantera shapeshifters, Raphael has devoted his life to discovering the key to the infertility that is threatening the extinction of his puma race. Creating a vast network of spies worldwide, he never expected to discover that the answer might be beneath his very nose. But when Ashe, a beautiful human female, crosses his path, his most primitive instincts are stirred. Unable to resist, he takes her to his bed, and is shocked when she becomes pregnant with his child. It’s a miracle that might prove to be the salvation of his people, but only if he can keep her safe from the mercenaries determined to kill her. PARISH Untamed and undeniably sexy, Parish, leader of the Pantera hunters, rarely leaves the magic of the Wildlands to deal with the humans he despises. But with the prized and risky Pantera birth on the way, puma shifter, Parish must travel to New Orleans to find and bring back a human doctor. The moment he sees the lovely, talented and all too human Dr. Julia Cabot he cannot resist the wild, potent drive to make her his. Betrayed and destroyed by love, Julia will not let her heart choose her path again. But as she and Parish fight to save the life of an unborn child, a fierce and overwhelming bond develops between them, threatening her frozen heart with the secret hope and ultimate temptation of love and family. Word Count: 40,000 words/ 183 pages This new series of double novellas are set in the world of the Bayou Wildlands. It contains hot, sexy shapeshifters, graphic language and adult themes.

**

These are the first two novellas in the Bayou Heat Series. I did find them very interesting. The world of the Pantera is explained but I feel like there could have been more. The women fall for these Puma shifters a bit hard and fast but then there could have been some Puma magic involved. Both authors are accomplished writers and give us a feel for this “otherworld”. There are sizzling hot sex scenes and some violent action scenes. I did like these novellas, and recommend them to those readers who enjoy Paranormal Romance and shifters.

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Review e-book Bundle- Julie Ann Walker’s Black Knight Series

 

Title: Julie Ann Walker : Hell On Wheels, In Rides Trouble, Rev It Up (Black Knights Series)

Black Knight Julie ann walker Bundle pic

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspence

Author: Julie Ann Walker

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Source: purchase, Kindle Bundle

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Descriptions from Amazon.com:

Book #1-Hell on WheelsEx–Marine Nate Weller is an expert at keeping his cool, which is how he keeps his feelings for Ali Morgan in check. Sweet, sexy Ali is his best friend’s sister…and totally off limits. Ali’s never seen anything sexier than Nate straddling his custom Harley-or the flash in his eyes when she tells him she’s in trouble. With Nate, her life is in his capable hands–but her heart is another story.

** This first book in the Black Knights Series grabbed me from the start with its smart writing, riveting suspense and sizzling sexual tension. We are introduced to the ex-seals and ex-marines that comprise the shadowy world of black-ops that operate out of a custom motorcycle shop in Chicago. Their missions are clandestine and dangerous. Nate is riddled with guilt over the death of his best friend, Grigg, Ali’s brother. Ali is head over heels for Nate and can’t seem to figure out why he pulls away from her. Ali needs Nate to help her with a stalker and threats to her life. Julie Ann walker can deliver the action and suspense and still give us hot romantic interludes. This read propelled me to read more of the series. Try it; I guarantee you will like it. 4-stars

 

Book #2-In Rides Trouble Trouble tends to find Becky Reichert. Like the day ex-SEAL Frank Knight showed up, wanting to use her shop as a cover for his special ops team. Becky prides herself on being able to weld and shoot just as well as the big boys. But while munitions and mayhem are Frank’s way of life, the last thing he needs is Becky in the way. Yet it’s just his luck when she ends up in a hostage situation. Come hell or high water, he will get her back…

**

Another wild, sexy ride with the Black Knights. In book #1, HELL ON WHEELS, we met Frank Knight, the boss of the group, and Becky their crack mechanic. Both have been pining for the other for a few years without either making a move. But that doesn’t mean they are not all wrapped up in each other. Frank leads the team to save Becky but Becky also has learned a thing or two from the team and holds her own with the bad guys. This series is a red hot read with Alphas all over the shop. There is lots of action, interesting situations and sizzling sex and funny moments. 4-stars

Book #3-Rev It UpEx-SEAL Jake “the Snake” Sommers was known for striking quickly, quietly, and lethally. That’s also how he broke Michelle Carter’s heart. It was the only way to keep her safe-from himself. Four years later, Jake wants another chance, but Michelle has never forgiven him. But when her brother ticks off a mobster, she must do the unimaginable: place her life in Jake’s hands. And once she does, he’ll never let her go…

**

This, the third book in Julie Ann Walker’s Black Knights Series, is the most exciting, breathless one yet. Wait a minute….that’s what I thought about each of the first two in the series. Walker just keeps turning out sizzling hot alpha men and the women who can’t keep their hands off of them. Skillful characterization, smart plotting, humorous touches and sublimely sensual love scenes makes this a very satisfying read. We are treated to the romance of not only Jake “snake” Sommers and Michelle Carter but also the sparks are flying for Vanessa and Rock who will get their highlight in the next book, Thrill Ride. 4-stars

 

Let me give you a bit of background as to why I started reading this series. I was offered Ms. Walker’s latest in this series, Book #6 Hell for Leather, free for review but when I checked out the series I thought I might get a better feel for the series if I bought the beginning books and read them first. Well! I never expected to get hooked so quickly. Thank goodness I bought the bundle because I didn’t have to wait to just keep reading. If you like the idea of motorcycle riding, trash talking, alpha males who basically do all the government dirty work and the women who bring them to their knees, then this is the series for you….and me. Yes, you should read this series from the beginning since you will get a better understanding of the characters and background. I have a review of book #6 coming on May 2nd so you have time to get all settled in a comfy chair with a glass of wine and start reading. These books are available in both e-reader and paperback but the bundle is only available in e-reader format.

 

Black Knight Series by Julie Ann Walker:

  1. Hell On Wheels (Nate and Ali)
  2. In Rides Trouble (Frank and Becky)
  3. Rev It Up (Jake and Michelle)
  4. Thrill Ride (Rock and Vanessa)
  5. Born Wild (Bill and Eve)
  6. Hell For Leather(May 6, 2014- Review coming Friday May 2nd)
  7. Full Throttle (December 2014) 

 

 

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Review- Atonement by B.J. Daniels

Title: Atonement

Atonement

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspence/Western

Author: B.J. Daniels

Publisher: Harlequin HQN, Feb.2014

Source: Free for review from the Amazon Vine Program

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating:3

Description from Amazon.com:

Just how far are people willing to go to keep their secrets?  Protecting the citizens of Beartooth, Montana, is never an easy job. It’s been one year, and Sheriff Dillon Lawson still feels guilty that he couldn’t save his twin brother, Ethan. But the biggest test of his bravery comes when Tessa Winters arrives, claiming to be pregnant…with Ethan’s baby. At first, Dillon can’t decide if this beautiful woman is a con artist or a victim. If Ethan didn’t die in that car crash, then where is he—and why is he hiding?  Now, Dillon is prepared to do anything to uncover the truth—anything except admit his growing feelings for Tessa. But with violence threatening, Tessa and Dillon must trust in each other to save not only themselves…but also Tessa’s unborn child.

**

I had only read one other book by this author, Crime Scene At Cardwell Ranch, but I liked it so I thought that I would like this one as well. It was just not for me. I just could not engage with Tessa or Dillon and the plot did not engage my interest either. The romance was almost non-existant. The side story with Nettie and Frank was okay.   This author writes well that is why I gave it 3-stars, but this book was flat for me.

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Review- A Promise of More

Title: A Promise Of More (Libertine Scholars)

A Promise of More

Genre: Historical Romance, Regency

Author: Bronwen Evans

Publisher: Random House, Loveswept, April 15, 2014, for e-reader

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

When Beatrice Hennessey sets out to confront Lord Coldhurst, the notorious rogue who killed her brother in a duel, her intent is to save her family from destitution. She’s determined to blackmail the man into a loveless marriage. She’ll make the wealthy Lord Coldhurst pay for the rest of his life. But while greeting his ship, Beatrice takes a tumble into the Thames—only to be fished out by a pair of strong masculine arms that tempt her to stay locked in their heated embrace forever. That is, until she realizes those arms belong to Sebastian Hawkestone, Lord Coldhurst himself.   The little drowned mermaid has an interesting proposition indeed; one that Sebastian is surprised to find quite agreeable. Although he’s had women more beautiful, she is pleasing to the eye, and besides, it’s time he fathered an heir. Beatrice promises to be the ideal wife; a woman who hates him with an all-consuming passion is far too sensible to expect romance. However, it isn’t long before Sebastian’s plan for a marriage of convenience unravels, and he’s caught up in the exhilarating undertow of seduction.

**

This is the second book in the Libertine Scholars Series. Sebastian and Beatrice agree to a marriage of convenience but soon Beatrice is falling in love with her husband and Sebastian wants no part of love. There is a mystery that plays throughout the book but is never resolved in this book, perhaps in the author’s next offering in this series we will solve the mystery. This is a very sensuous romance and unless you like lots of bed-action then you may not like this book. The characters were well drawn and the side characters were intriguing, especially the other Libertine Scholars. This is a standalone book with hints as to what transpired in book #1 and what is to come in future installments in the series.

I would have rated this book higher except I was disappointed in not having the mystery wrapped up in this book.

Libertine Scholars Series:

1. A Kiss of Lies

2. A Promise of More

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Easter Wishes

Happy Easter from Deet and Bunny

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Review- My Lady, My Lord by Katherine Ashe

Title: My Lady, My Lord

My Lady My Lord

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Katherine Ashe

Publisher: Billet-Doux Books, March 2014

Source: Purchase

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Book #1 in a new series of historical romances… with a twist. The Bluestocking ~ Lady Corinna Mowbray has three passions: excellent books, intelligent conversation, and disdaining the libertine Earl of Chance. The Rake ~ Lord Ian Chance has three pleasures: beautiful women, fast horses, and tormenting high-and-mighty Corinna Mowbray. Neighbors for years, they’ve been at each other’s throats since they can remember. But when a twist of fate forces them to trade lives, how long will it be before they discover they cannot live without each other?

**

If you are craving an original take on the usual historical romance tropes then this is the book for you. Katherine Ashe can certainly shake up a genre, in a very good way. This offering is creative and very well written. In spite of my personal dislike of the H/h always bickering, I was just enthralled with this story. I’m being very careful not to give away the plot. I want that you should have a delightful surprise. But here is a hint, there is a Goddess involved.

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Advance Review- To Charm A Naughty Countess by Theresa Romain

Title: To Charm a Naughty Countess

To Charm a Naughty countess

Genre: Historical Romance, Regency

Author: Theresa Romain

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, May 6, 2014 (available for preorder)

Source: Free For review from the publisher

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Can a reclusive duke…

Brilliant but rumored mad, Michael Layward, the impoverished Duke of Wyverne, has no success courting heiresses until widowed Lady Stratton takes up his cause—after first refusing his suit.

Win London’s most powerful countess?

Caroline Graves, the popular Countess of Statton, sits alone at the pinnacle of London society and has vowed never to remarry. When Michael—her counterpart in an old scandal—returns to town after a long absence, she finds herself as enthralled with him as ever. As she guides the anxiety-ridden duke through the trials of London society, Caroline realizes that she’s lost her heart. But if she gives herself to the only man she’s ever loved, she’ll lose the hard won independence she prizes above all.

**

This is a really good read. Theresa Romain has come up with some very original facets in this novel. Michael is saddled with sever social anxiety, which doesn’t bode well for finding and wooing a young woman to be his wife. But he desperately needs a wife and she better be wealthy because his estates are near bankrupt. Caroline loved him back in the day about eleven years ago, but there was some scandal and Michael ran off to his country estate. Now he is back and she agrees to help him in finding a wife but the more they are together the more she knows she is still in love with him.

Ms. Romain has given us a very flawed man and he is also a virgin which is not too often found in the Historical Romance genre. Caroline is a widow and is actually the perfect Yin for Michaels’ Yang. There are some humorous moments as we watch Michael bumble through some regency style meet-and-greets.

The writing is good, the plot is original, the characters are engaging and I enjoyed reading every page.

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Recent Release Review- The Scandalous Love of A Duke by Jane Lark

Title: The Scandalous Love of a Duke(book #3, The Marlowe Intrigues Series)

The Scandelous Love of a Duke

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Jane Lark

Publisher: Harper Impulse, april 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Isolated by life and choice, John Harding, the Duke of Pembroke, sees an angel in a pale mauve dress across a room and is drawn closer as lust grips firm and hard in his stomach.   The wheat-blonde hair escaping her dull dove-grey bonnet and caressing her neck lures his eyes to a spot he’d like to kiss.   She speaks with animation her hands moving. Then as if she senses his gaze the stranger turns and looks at him. A rush of pain and longing spilled from Katherine’s heart into her limbs. It was so long since she’d seen John but her reaction was the same as it had been more than half-a-dozen years before. She loved him, secretly, without hope, but a chasm of years and status stood between them.

**

The characterization of these two star-crossed lovers is spot on. They are flawed; both have deep problems. Jane Lark gives us a deeply moving back story for both John and Kate. We are treated to all the societal taboos against this union and yet as they long for each other we long for their happily-ever-after.

This is the first book I have read by this author and it definitely will not be my last. Her writing is eloquent and moving. She brings this 19th century scene to life and this reader felt like I was there in this restrictive time that actually fosters passionate liaisons because of the taboos. I fell in love with John in spite of his flaws and I felt sympathy for Kate and her devotional love.

This is a wonderful historical romance and I highly recommend it. Although it is #3 in the series it is a standalone novel.

Deet’s note: Don’t you love that great cover???!!!

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Review- Three Weeks With Lady X by Eloisa James

Title: Three Weeks With Lady X (Desperate Duchesses)

Three Weeks With Lady X

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Eloisa James

Publisher: Avon, March 2014

Source: Purchase

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Having made a fortune, Thorn Dautry, the powerful bastard son of a duke, decides that he needs a wife. But to marry a lady, Thorn must acquire a gleaming, civilized façade, the specialty of Lady Xenobia India.

Exquisite, headstrong, and independent, India vows to make Thorn marriageable in just three weeks.

But neither Thorn nor India anticipate the forbidden passion that explodes between them.

Thorn will stop at nothing to make India his. Failure is not an option.

But there is only one thing that will make India his . . . the one thing Thorn can’t afford to lose . . . his fierce and lawless heart.

**

Lady Xenobia India St. Clair is the orphaned daughter of a destitute marquess. She had no money but she had a kind godmother, Adelaide, and a talent for organization and decorating that was wanted by the aristocracy. India and Adelaide spent their time traveling from one estate to another so that India could put to rights each household. That is how she met Thorn Dautry. Mr. Dautry had recently bought an estate in disrepair that he needed fixed up so that he could propose to Lady Laetitia Rainsford. Thorn’s stepmother, Elinore, asked India to accomplish this task in three weeks after which he would hold a house party for Laetitia and both families.

This was a most delightful offering in Ms. James’ Desperate Duchesses series. The banter between India and Thorn is witty and it is accomplished through written notes and dialog. Thorn’s back story as a “mudlark” adds to understanding his nature. India’s past as the daughter of eccentric parents underscores her traits.  Side characters are well developed and add to the story. Ms James brings all the characters to life with distinct personalities. Especially Thorn’s friend Evander Septimus Brody, future Duke of Pindar and Thorn’s six year old ward, Rose. References are made to other characters from the series but this is a standalone novel.

**

Deet’s Life: I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Eloisa James at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival in March of this year. She is a warm, friendly, intelligent woman and signed my copy of Three Weeks With Lady X.

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Eloisa James and Deet

 

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