Monthly Archives: January 2017

Release Day Review- Schooling The Viscount by Maggie Robinson

schooling-the-viscount

Title: Schooling The Viscount (Cotswold Confidential, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

Author: Maggie Robinson

Publisher: Lyrical Press, Kensington, Jan. 31, 2017 (preorder available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 254

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:         

Welcome to Puddling‑on‑the‑Wold, where the sons and daughters of Victorian nobility come for a little rest, recuperation, and “rehab,” in this brand-new series of rebellious romance from Maggie Robinson.

After a harrowing tour of duty abroad, Captain Lord Henry Challoner fought to keep his memories at bay with two of his preferred vices: liquor and ladies. But the gin did more harm than good–as did Henry’s romantic entanglements, since he was supposed to be finding a suitable bride. Next stop: The tiny village in Gloucestershire, where Henry can finally sober up without distraction or temptation. Or so he thinks…

A simple country schoolteacher, Rachel Everett was never meant to cross paths with a gentleman such as Henry. What could such a worldly man ever see in her? As it turns out, everything. Beautiful, fiercely intelligent Rachel is Henry’s dream woman–and wife. Such a match would be scandalous for his family of course, and Rachel has no business meddling with a resident at the famed, rather draconian, Puddling Rehabilitation Foundation. All the better, for two lost souls with nothing to lose–and oh so very much to gain.

***

Let me confess that Victorian Chic-Lit is not my fave.  That said this book really has a unique take on the Victorian era, actually I think we can call it rather a fantasy of Victorian England. Rachel is probably one of the most normal characters in this book.  She is a school teacher and is instructed by the towns leaders to not interact with the “Guests” as the patients are called who come to the village. She accidentally meets Henry, Henry is smitten with the town’s lovely school teacher and from that time on, no matter how many times he is hit on the head(and he is hit quite often), he is all about winning over Rachel.

This is a book for those who love the slapstick, light fluff romance books.  I’ve often claimed not to like silly humor. I’m more in favor of the witty type, but if you do love this kind of book then this one is perfect. You may have to shelve your disbelief but you also will have a good laugh.

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Advance Review-On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins

on-second-thought

Title: On Second thought

Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction/Romance

Author: Kristan Higgins

Publisher: HQN books, Feb. 1, 2017 (Preorder available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 480

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5 behind closed doors

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:         

Ainsley O’Leary is so ready to get married—she’s even found the engagement ring her boyfriend has stashed away. What she doesn’t anticipate is being blindsided by a breakup he chronicles in a blog…which (of course) goes viral. Devastated and humiliated, Ainsley turns to her older half sister, Kate, who’s struggling with a sudden loss of her own.

Kate’s always been the poised, self-assured sister, but becoming a newlywed—and a widow—in the space of four months overwhelms her. Though the sisters were never close, she starts to confide in Ainsley, especially when she learns her late husband was keeping a secret from her.

Despite the murky blended-family dynamic that’s always separated them, Ainsley’s and Kate’s heartaches bind their summer together when they come to terms with the inevitable imperfection of relationships and family—and the possibility of one day finding love again.

**

Does the description above make you think you’ve read this book before?  Well the description may lead you to that belief, but this is a fresh and fabulous book. Not one you are likely to have encountered before this. Kristan Higgins is a master of bringing on the readers tears as well as laughter.  I was so totally invested in these characters that I couldn’t put this book down. Kate is so close to 40 and to have her first chance at happiness stolen makes us want to take her hurt upon ourselves.  Ainsley is majorly clueless about Eric but she does come into her own. That they each have a chance of overcoming their sadness is beautiful.

Yes, you definitely need to read this book. You’re welcome.

 

 

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Advance Review- The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne

the-duke-kerrigan-byrne

Title: The Duke (Victorian Rebels, book #4)

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian/Mystery

Author: Kerrigan Byrne

Publisher: At. Martin’s Paperbacks, Feb. 7, 2017 (preorder available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 384

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

He is noble, notorious, and takes no prisoners… Strong as a Viking.  Handsome as Adonis.  Rich as Midas. Collin “Cole” Talmage, Duke of Trenwyth, is the stuff that legends are made of.  He’s the English Empire’s golden son–until fate has its way with him. Cole’s family is killed and his closest comrade betrays him on the battlefield, leaving him gravely injured. But Cole is not one to dwell on misfortune. He is a man of duty, honor–and desire. And now he’s ready for the fight of his lifetime… Imogen Pritchard is a beautiful lass who works in a hospital by day and as a serving maid at night. Years ago, when she was young and penniless, she ended up spending a scandalous night with Cole, whose tormented soul was matched only by his earth-shattering passion. Imogen entered a marriage of convenience–one that left her a wealthy widow–but she never forgot Cole. Now that her long-lost lover has turned up in her hospital, injured and with no memory of her, Imogen is torn: Is it a blessing or a curse that their past remains a secret to Cole, even as his new passion for her leaves him wanting to protect and possess her…at all costs?

***

When it comes to Historical Romance, Kerrigan Byrne is right up at the top of the list of best of the best.  This her fourth novel in the Victorian Rebels Series is as mesmerizing and filled with heart pounding action as the other gems in this series.  We are treated to characters we cheer for, villains that make us hold our breath and love scenes that are filled with sizzling passion.  In this book we also have the mystery of a serial killer who seems to be fixated on our heroine, Imogen.  The Duke, Collen Talmage, is a shadow of the man Imogen once knew.  He has suffered extreme torture but is bent on fighting back to his former strength.  All of the other “Rebels” from the previous books in the series play important roles in this book. This is a standalone book but I feel you will enjoy it even more if you read the previous books in the series. This is what is now referred to as a “dark historical romance”; filled with violence and characters that are not always moral or even polite.  There are scenes of sex that border on violence and I mention this since some may find this difficult to read.  That said, this is a well written book filled with description that will have you underlining passages.  You will not be able to put this book down until you reach the last page.

The Victorian Rebels Series:

  1. The Highwayman (Dorian and Farah)
  2. The Highlander (Liam and Mena)
  3. The Hunter (Christopher and Millie)
  4. The Duke (Collin [Cole] and Imogen)

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Recent Release Review- Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

breath-of-fire

Title: Breath of fire (The Kingmaker Chronicles, book /32)

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Author: Amanda Bouchet

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, Jan. 3, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 448

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

SHE’S DESTINED TO DESTROY THE WORLD… BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT

“Cat” Catalia Fisa has been running from her destiny since she could crawl. But now, her newfound loved ones are caught between the shadow of Cat’s tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future. So what’s a warrior queen to do when she knows it’s her fate to be the harbinger of doom? Everything in her power.

Griffin knows Cat is destined to change the world—for the better. As the realms are descending into all-out war, Cat and Griffin risk sacrificing everything they’ve fought for. Gods willing, they will emerge side-by-side in the heart of their future kingdom…or die trying.

The Kingmaker Chronicles: A Promise of Fire (Book 1) Breath of Fire (Book 2) Heart on Fire (Book 3, coming Fall 2017)

****

I could not wrap my mind around the disjointed way this book was written.  It starts off with Griffin trashing his bedroom with Cat there and stalking off.  Then she leaves to heal her broken heart in another room.  He comes back and says she got it all wrong.  I don’t think so. From there we go on one action packed adventure scene to the next full of violence and thrills. But it felt like just scenes linked together.  Certainly scenes that were interesting but really didn’t feel like a cohesive story. I kept setting this book aside because it just wasn’t holding my interest.  It took me forever to finish.

This book got a rating of 3 from me because if you are really into the Greek myths and like Game of Thrones then this book is “okay”.  But for me personally it rated a 2 “disappointing”.

 

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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

any-time-any-place

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

cold-hearted-rake

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

ready-set-rogue

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

mistletoe-mayhem

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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