Monthly Archives: June 2015

Advance Review- The Curiosity Keeper by Sarah E. Ladd

Title: The Curiosity Keeper

The curiosity Keeper

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Sarah E. Ladd

Publisher: Thomas Nelson, July 7, 2015(preorder available)

Pages: 338

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: Chaste kiss

Description from Amazon.com:

It is not just a ruby, as you say.

It is large as a quail’s egg, still untouched and unpolished.

And it is rumored to either bless or curse whomever possesses it.”

Camille Iverness can take care of herself. She’s done so since the day her mother abandoned the family and left Camille to run their shabby curiosity shop on Blinkett Street. But when a violent betrayal leaves her injured with no place to hide, Camille has no choice but to accept help from the mysterious stranger who came to her aid.

Jonathan Gilchrist never wanted to inherit Kettering Hall. As a second son, he was content working as a village apothecary. But when his brother’s death made him heir just as his father’s foolish decisions put the estate at risk, only the sale of a priceless possession—a ruby called the Bevoy—can save the family from ruin. But the gem has disappeared. And all trails lead to Iverness Curiosity Shop—and the beautiful shop girl who may or may not be the answer to his questions.

Curious circumstance throws them together, and an intricate dance of need and suspicion leads the couple from the seedy backwaters of London to the elite neighborhoods of the wealthy to the lush, green Surrey countryside—all in the pursuit of a blood-red gem that collectors will sacrifice anything to possess.

Caught at the intersection of blessings and curses, greed and deceit, two determined souls must unite to protect what they hold dear. But when a passion that shines far brighter than any gem is ignited, each will have to decide how much they are willing to risk for their future, love, and happiness.

**

Well…not so much passion, but certainly a slow building affection that becomes more and more romantic. Eventually binding Camille and Jonathan, this closeness will see Jonathan as Camille’s protector.

I enjoyed this novel. It is part suspense, part mystery and part romance and Ms. Ladd gives us all three with some surprises thrown in also. This is sold by Harper Collins Christian so there is no sex which is welcome to some readers. The extent of physical interaction is a kiss. There are nice characters, there are not so nice characters and then there are really down and dirty characters. This makes for some interesting interactions in the book.

This is a charming, story with some angst and I recommend it to those who want their romance on the sweet side.

(I thought the cover of this book was especially pretty.  What do you think?)

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Advance Review- A Duke But No Gentleman by Alexandra Hawkins

Title: A Duke But No Gentleman (Masters of Seduction, book #1)

A Duke but no Gentleman

Genre: Historical Romance, Georgian

Author: Alexandra Hawkins

Publisher: St. Martins, June 30, 2015

Pages: 250

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5+

Description from Amazon.com:

In the last opulent days of the eighteenth century, a friendly wager turns into a heated feud that spans decades…and a love affair like none other.

What does it take to tempt a lady… London, 1792. The Duke of Blackbern and the Marquess of Norgrave are boyhood friends who will still compete at anything. Racing, drinking, gambling, even seduction–until Lady Imogen Sunter crosses their path. Achingly beautiful, and innocent, she has no understanding of the jaded gentlemen who are courting her for favors–of how far they are willing to go to get what they want… In this game of seduce and destroy? Fighting for Imogen’s affection should have been no more than their usual spirited rivalry. But when Blackbern discovers his feelings for Imogen have deepened, all bets are off. Norgrave, driven by his own demons, won’t forsake his pride–and with one shocking act of betrayal that threatens Imogen and Blackbern’s newfound desire, Norgrave will set the course for a generation of Regency bad boys who will go down in history as the Masters of Seduction…in A Duke But No Gentleman by Alexandra Hawkins.

**

This is my first time reading an Alexandra Hawkins book. Although the premise was good, two friends wagering on who could seduce a beautiful debutante, the debutante was so overwhelmingly naïve and seemed out of character for the era. I kept wondering where were her parents, who seemed to love her, when she was traipsing around unchaperoned. The Duke and the Marquess were rakes in the truest sense. Both were hedonistic rogues one with a conscience and one who was a sociopath. Fair warning, there are two scenes of rape.

This is a dark novel that could have used a bit more fleshing out. At times I felt like I was reading scenes that were well written but didn’t seem to connect with the whole.

This is not a light and fluffy read, but if you like your romance dark and dirty then you may like this book in spite of its flaws.

 

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Recent Release Review- An Improper Proposal by Heather Boyd

Title: An Improper Proposal

An Improper proposal

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Heather Boyd

Publisher: LLD press, June 9, 2015

Pages: 234

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:         

In life there are choices… Spinster Iris Hedley was once the darling of the ton until her father lost his fortune through an illness of the mind. Reduced to living as a penniless guest while her father rots in debtor’s prison, she’s determined to escape unscrupulous robbers who’ve set her to spy on the ton by the only means possible—by becoming a wealthy man’s mistress. Unfortunately for Iris, her proper upbringing never covered intimacy or seduction so she asks the one man she trusts for help with private lessons in the duties of a mistress. …in love there is but one Martin Andrews, the Earl of Louth, may have a soft spot for tiny Iris Hedley, especially after her father fled London with a horde of debtors nipping at his heels. Her request for lessons in seduction leaves him reeling and although tempted it’s an offer he must refuse for her own good. Convinced she’s headed for heartbreak, he sets out to prove that surrendering to wicked pleasure is not worth the sacrifice of her future only to discover that her problems are more complicated than his own. A sizzling regency historical romance novel.

**

Yes, this is a sizzling novel; safe to say it is a bit raunchy but feels like reality of the times. It doesn’t gloss over the morals and attitudes of society by focusing on the simpering debs at the ball. This is about those who are trying to just hang on in society and perhaps even feeling some panic at their perceived downfall. Or some who have learned how to play the game for their own advantage.

I enjoyed this darker regency romance. The characters were brought to life and felt very real. The good guy had his faults and the villain was truly evil. Iris was very lucky when she pursued being a mistress that she encountered Martin who was an honorable man since the ton was full of the dishonorable type. I really like this not-so-varnished view of the era.

I can easily recommend this book to HR fans.

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Review- The Substitute by Denise Glover Swank

Title: The Substitute (The Wedding Pact, book #1)

The Substitute

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Denise Glover Swank

Publisher: DGS, January 2015

Pages: 350

Source: Kindle purchase, $.99

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:         

Megan Vandemeer meant to tell her parents about her broken engagement, but a month and a half later she finds herself boarding a plane home to her wedding. Having stretched avoidance to its limits, it’s time to come clean–a terrifying prospect since her mother is sure to blame her rather than her cheating, emotionally frigid ex. A couple of drinks and two Dramamine later, Megan finds herself spilling her sob story to the tall, dark, and handsome stranger in the seat next to her.

With only one week left to save his business, Josh McMillan boards a plane to Kansas City in a last-ditch effort, leaving the details to chance. An unexpected answer is delivered in the form of the beautiful brunette beside him. Though she’s completely loopy, her honesty, openness, and humor charm him. So when she passes out before landing, he helps her off the plane–a good deed that leads to a colossal misunderstanding. Her parents assume he’s her fiancé. In a twist of fate, the mix-up might help Josh save his business, so he plays along, figuring he can help Megan too. All he has to do is stage a public break up convincing enough to appease her mother. Josh is only supposed to be a substitute groom, but the more time he and Megan spend together, the more their pretend engagement starts to feel real…and the less they want to break it off. Can a relationship that began as a farce turn into happily ever after?

**

First let me give you a bit of background in how I came to buy this book. I was perusing the NYTimes paperback and e-book bestseller list when this book caught my eye at #13. It is rare that a romance novel gets into the top 20 so I was intriqued. I clicked over to Amazon and saw it was only $.99, and thought “that’s the first book on the bestseller list I’ve ever seen at $.99.”. Naturally I coughed up the change and dove into the first chapter thinking I would just read a few pages. Well…..I had to keep reading because it was so funny and I had visions of a Rom Com movie dancing in my head. This is well written by an author who is better known for her mystery series.

The bride, Megan, is terrified of her mother, Nicole, who is rather autocratic and definitely overbearing but written a bit over the top. That is why Megan has been unable to confront her mother with the news of the broken engagement. Josh is a really decent guy (as well as hunky and handsome) who sees a way to solve both his business problem and at the same time help out Megan. He didn’t plan on falling for her. Side characters play an important part in the shenanigans in this story and set up future books. Megan’s two childhood girl pals are her bridesmaids and confidants. Megan’s grandmother is sharp as a tack but plays at senility, and if she’s a bit over the top, well, she is lovable. The scenes of humor are a bit contrived but that never stopped me from laughing out loud.

If you want a light, laughable, romantic and sexy read then this is your go-to book. And who doesn’t need one of these funny books once in awhile?

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Review- A Slip In Time by Kathleen Kirkwood

Title: A Slip In Time

A slip in time

Genre: Time Travel Romance

Author: Kathleen Kirkwood

Publisher: ByDand Publishing, 2012

Pages: 308

Source: purchase (free on Kindle)

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

A HIGHLAND CHIEFTAIN

Recently freed from captivity in London Tower, Rae Mackinnon returns to the turbulent Highlands and claims his place as laird of Dunraven Castle. As he grapples with clan rivalries and divisiveness within his own family, he is confronted with a startling discovery — a beautiful woman from a distant future, delivered through the portals of Time and into his bed . . .

A VICTORIAN LADY

Swept up in the summer social rounds, Julia Hargrove accompanies her aunt and cousins on an excursion to Scotland, to an ancient castle which has hosted no visitors for two decades — until now. Rumors abound of unusual occurrences at Dunraven Castle — occurrences that are centered in the bedchamber Julia now occupies, where a rugged Highland warrior materializes from the past . . .

DRAWN IRRESISTIBLY THROUGH THE PORTALS OF TIME

What mysteries does Dunraven hold? What secret opens the temporal door, allowing Julia and Rae to reach across the centuries to claim a few stolen moments and nurture a blossoming love? But how long can the rules of Time be broken before the door shuts forevermore?

**

I love time-travel romances. At least I love the idea of them. So often I’ve been disappointed but every now and then I come across a hidden gem and this is one of those. This story is superbly plotted and so rich with time-slip explanations that the reader starts to think it could actually happen. Our Fifteenth century Highland Laird is, of course, the epitome of virile masculinity and handsome. Our Victorian miss is sweet, tender and much put-upon by her female relatives. There is a villain that we hope gets his comeuppance and a group of kindly old scientists who aid in the understanding of time-slips. This has been just a delightful book by a very accomplished author.

(I’m sorry! This book is no longer free on Amazon.  The price is back to around $3, still a good buy.)


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Get Ready- POLDARK coming to PBS on June 21, 2015

Are we ready for POLDARK? You betcha! The first of 8 episodes coming to PBS Masterpiece Theater on June 21st at 9 p.m. (check your local listing)  Here are some scene out-takes with lots of kissing.  Enjoy!

The song is by Lady Antebellum

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Review- Four Nights With The Duke by Eloisa James

Title: Four Nights With The Duke (Desperate Duchesses, book #8)

Four Nights With The Duke

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Eloisa James

Publisher: Avon, March 2015

Pages: 384

Source: purchase

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

As a young girl, Emilia Gwendolyn Carrington told the annoying future Duke of Pindar that she would marry any man in the world before him—so years later she is horrified to realize that she has nowhere else to turn.

Evander Septimus Brody has his own reasons for agreeing to Mia’s audacious proposal, but there’s one thing he won’t give his inconvenient wife: himself.

Instead, he offers Mia a devil’s bargain . . . he will spend four nights a year with her. Four nights, and nothing more. And those only when she begs for them.

Which Mia will never do.

Now Vander faces the most crucial challenge of his life: he must seduce his own wife in order to win her heart—and no matter what it takes, this is the one battle he can’t afford to lose.

**

An Eloisa James book is usually a slam-dunk for being a page turner. This one is no exception. We are introduced to our hero, Vander, and our heroine, Mia, when they are teenagers and in an embarrassing situation. The story then picks up years later when Mia, who has sworn to never even talk to Vander again, is in his study proposing marriage. Of course Mia can’t tell Vander the “real” reason for the proposal and so Vander, justifiably, is angry at her effrontery.

In many books, I find I yawn and shake my head at the use of this trope of misunderstanding or blatant holding back of information between characters. In this book it all makes sense that Mia can’t really divulge the reasons for her proposal and why Vander accepts also is totally understandable. So what we have here is powerful writing by a talented author. That these two find common ground is also skillfully accomplished.

This is a sexy, well written, totally engrossing Historical Romance. It is number eight in the series but is a standalone book. I recommend it for all romance aficionados.

 

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Recent Release Review-Never Resist A Rake by Mia Marlowe

Title: Never Resist A Rake (Somerfield Park, book #2)

Never Resist A Rake

Genre: Historical Romance, Regency

Author: Mia Marlowe

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, June 2, 2015

Pages: 384

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 2

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Can he fool his new family? John Fitzhugh Barrett, surprised to learn he is heir to a marquessate, is determined his new status won’t mean giving up his freedom. But as families from all over England descend upon Somerfield Park for the shooting season, their unmarried daughters are lining up to bag the newest trophy buck-him.

Or is he only fooling himself? John’s instinct for self-preservation inspires him to divide his attentions between a scandalous young widow, and the safely ineligible Rebecca Kearsey, daughter of a destitute baron.

The charade gives John the illusion of controlling the game but when he loses his heart to the beautiful Rebecca, all bets are off.

**

I cannot tell a lie! I really liked the first book in this series. I found it near impossible to finish this one. Not a bit of it felt like the regency era except maybe the carriage rides. The heroine was supposed to be a proper young lady but continually delved into compromising situations. She was to instruct the hero in properly comporting himself when she continued to be improper. Although I can look away when there are some discrepancies in the manners of the time period, there were so many that they ruined the story for me.

 

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Book Review- Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren

Title: Sweet Filthy boy

Sweet Filthy Boy

Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Author: Christina Lauren

Publisher: Gallery Books, May 2014

Pages: 416

Source: purchase

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5+

Description from Amazon.com:

One-night stands are supposed to be with someone convenient, or wickedly persuasive, or regrettable. They aren’t supposed to be with someone like him. But after a crazy Vegas weekend celebrating her college graduation—and terrified of the future path she knows is a cop-out—Mia Holland makes the wildest decision of her life: follow Ansel Guillaume—her sweet, filthy fling—to France for the summer and just…play. When feelings begin to develop behind the provocative roles they take on, and their temporary masquerade adventures begin to feel real, Mia will have to decide if she belongs in the life she left because it was all wrong, or in the strange new one that seems worlds away.

**

Okay, does that title grab you? Hm-m-m, do you think maybe this is a sexy book? Does the fact that Romantic Times Magazine dubbed it “Book of The Year” at this year’s convention mean anything? Well, what can I say, yes, the title grabbed me, I figured it was sexy and if Romantic Times thought it that good maybe I should just see what the fuss was all about.

Sexy does not begin to describe all the sex in this book. Some sensuous, some rough, some play-acting all written VERY well. Ansel is truly a gorgeous hunk and who could resist his French accent. Mia is confused about her future for most of the book but has fallen for Ansel although she tries to deny the attachment. What happened in Vegas started something that traveled all the way to Paris.

Yes, I read this cover to cover, all 416 pages in two days. I had trouble putting it down when I really needed to sleep so I picked it up again first thing the next morning. These characters were believable and their lusting for each other was also believable. I kept waiting for this initial infatuation to wear off. I could not see how these two were to get a happily-ever-after. That is why I kept turning pages. I was totally hooked on their attraction and their scorching chemistry. Throw in an ex-lover and the suspense ratchets up.

I recommend this book to those who don’t mind lots of sex in their well written stories.

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Kindle Deals- By author Courtney Milan- One Free One $.99

Free Today

The Duchess War

Miss Minerva Lane is a quiet, bespectacled wallflower, and she wants to keep it that way. After all, the last time she was the center of attention, it ended badly–so badly that she changed her name to escape her scandalous past. Wallflowers may not be the prettiest of blooms, but at least they don’t get trampled. So when a handsome duke comes to town, the last thing she wants is his attention. But that is precisely what she gets. Because Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont, is not fooled. When Minnie figures out what he’s up to, he realizes there is more to her than her spectacles and her quiet ways. And he’s determined to lay her every secret bare before she can discover his. But this time, one shy miss may prove to be more than his match…

Only $.99

The Governess Affair

 

THE GOVERNESS AFFAIR-.$.99

Hugo Marshall earned the nickname “the Wolf of Clermont” for his ruthless ambition–a characteristic that has served him well, elevating the coal miner’s son to the right hand man of a duke. When he’s ordered to get rid of a pestering governess by fair means or foul, it’s just another day at work. But after everything Miss Serena Barton has been through at the hands of his employer, she is determined to make him pay. She won’t let anyone stop her–not even the man that all of London fears. They might call Hugo Marshall the Wolf of Clermont, but even wolves can be brought to heel…

The books in the Brothers Sinister series: 

½. The Governess Affair (prequel novella) 201 PAGES

1. The Duchess War 265 PAGES

1½. A Kiss for Midwinter (a companion novella to The Duchess War)

2. The Heiress Effect 

3. The Countess Conspiracy 

4. The Suffragette Scandal

4½. Talk Sweetly to Me

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