Monthly Archives: February 2017

Review- The Merchant’s Pearl by Amie O’Brien

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Title: The Merchant’s Pearl (The Merchant’s Pearl Saga, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

Author: Amie O’Brien

Publisher: Book Baby, July 2016

Source: Free for review from the author

Pages: 466

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5 not explicit

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:         

The opinionated, only daughter of a missionary, is enslaved and gifted to an Ottoman prince who has an inner vow to win her affection. Sarai was led to believe that the whole world could exchange their beliefs for hers. But when her parents are murdered, she quickly learns that the world never stops for just one person. The world takes, forgets, and swiftly moves on. By 1875, she isn’t even Sarai anymore. She had spent her teenage years repackaged as Leila, a palace concubine-in-waiting for the overly indulgent, Ottoman Sultan, Abdul’Aziz. Leila does her best to stay out of the eye of ‘Aziz as well as his son, Prince Emre. But when young and thoughtful Emre claims Leila for his own harem, she is forced out of her shell and thrown into a ring of competitive women. Here, she cannot hide from the attention her young master wishes to lavish upon her. Nor can she can avoid the ruthless retaliations of his prior favorite, Aster. But it’s the unexpected gift of sexual sanctuary and an inside look into his family’s struggles that really collides with Leila’s upbringing. Soon, despite her better judgment, she finds her heart becoming increasingly tied to him. But can she submit her faith and independent spirit to such a future—a future where to be loved means settling for the fact that she can only ever be his favorite? Will she be able to take turns sharing him among the four beautiful girls he had received before her, one being a jealous rival and another a closest friend? And what will happen to their love if Emre’s father can’t hold together his fragile kingdom, an empire that has grave threats encroaching from every side…including within?

**

I have mixed feelings about this book. The writing, while good, left me wondering too often about setting.  I really wanted to know more about the physical attributes of the palace.  We are forced, along with Leila, to confine ourselves to her room or Prince Emre’s rooms.  We are only briefly any other place in the entire 466 pages.  Written in the first person (I confess up-front that this is not my favorite style), the book is told almost entirely in dialog. An info dump at the end should have been given earlier so that the reader could understand what was going on politically. When at the ball we are told she is wearing a blue gown, but what is the style, is it like a Victorian English Ball? Is she wearing some harem garb? Told that the prince and his brothers are wearing black jackets, but what style?  The heroine was often truculent with her “master” even though he was a paragon of patience would a prince in these surroundings have tolerated her disrespect?

The language was often too modern for the Victorian and Turkish setting.

In acknowledgements the author thanks her several editors.  If these were professional editors then they could have done a better job of pointing the author in the right direction.

I conclude that there is some real talent with this author which is not fully realized in this book.

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Advance Review- Surrender To The Marquess by Louise Allen

surrender-to-the-marquess

Title: Surrender To The Marquess (The Harriads, book#3)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Louise Allen

Publisher: Harlequin Historical, March 1, 2017 (preorder available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 288

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:         

A battle of wills! 

When Lady Sara Herriard’s husband dies in a duel, she turns her back on the vagaries of the ton. From now on, she will live as she pleases. She won’t change for anyone—certainly not for the infuriating Lucian Avery, Marquess of Cannock!

Lucian must help his sister recover from a disastrous elopement and reluctantly enlists Lady Sara’s help. She couldn’t be further from the conventional, obedient wife he’s expected to marry, but soon all he craves is for her to surrender—and join him in his bed!

**

I don’t expect to love every book I read. This one was well written but I really didn’t like the heroine, Sara. And I just couldn’t wrap my head around her pushy interference in Lucian’s family life. I mean yes it was nice of her to want to help but she was like an overpowering tornedo. My way or the highway.  I couldn’t get past that to enjoy the story or other characters. Let’s just chalk this one up to “not my cuppa tea”.

(But if ever I was to buy a book because of the cover, this one would be it.  The H/h in the book match the cover and the balcony also features in the book.  I want to see more of this reference between both cover and story in other novels.)

 

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Review- Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas

marrying-winterborne

Title: Marrying Winterborne (the Ravenels, book #2)

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

Author: Lisa Kleypas

Publisher: Avon, May 2016

Source: Purchase

Pages: 416

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:         

A ruthless tycoon

Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better . . .

A sheltered beauty

Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable . . . the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with…

Marrying Mr. Winterborne

***

This is the second book in the Ravenel Series and although you will follow along with this one easily I feel you will enjoy it so much more if you read COLD HEARTED RAKE first. 

Helen discovers a secret that may ruin her chances of happiness.  Rhys is a wonderful hero who will let nothing deter him from marrying Helen.  This is all typical, delicious Kleypas.  There is some angst but also plenty of sensuous, love scenes.  We are treated to side characters we met in book #1 of the series and who will continue on in book#3.  The writing is eloquent, the characters well drawn and the story delightful.

The Ravenel Series:

  1. Cold Hearted Rake (Devon and Kathleen)
  2. Marrying Winterborne (Rhys and Helen)
  3. Devil In Spring (Gabriel and Pandora)

 

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Advance Review- Madly by Ruthie Knox

madly

Title: Madly (The New York Trilogy Series, book #2)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Ruthie Knox

Publisher: Loveswept, March 14, 2017 (preorder available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: ?

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.

Allie Fredericks isn’t supposed to be in Manhattan, hiding in the darkest corner of a hip bar, spying on her own mother—who’s flirting with a man who’s definitely not Allie’s father. Allie’s supposed to be in Wisconsin, planning her parents’ milestone anniversary party. Then Winston Chamberlain walks through the door, with his tailored suit, British accent, and gorgeous eyes, and Allie’s strange mission goes truly sideways. Winston doesn’t do messy. But after a pretty stranger ropes him into her ridiculous family drama with a fake kiss that gets a little too real, he finds out that messy can be fun. Maybe even a little addicting. And as the night grows longer, Allie and Winston make a list of other wild things they could do together—and what seems like a mismatch leads to a genuine connection. But can their relationship survive as their real lives implode just outside the bedroom door?

**

This book had me laughing at Allie’s “Meet Cute” with Winston.  She is in a bar spying on her mother and she might be recognized so she ropes in a stranger, Winston, for a fake kiss as her mother passes on her way to the Ladies’ room.  From there Winston becomes her aide de camp in her spying mission when he discovers he may have a key to her quest.

This story starts off with lots of promise.  It is rather a convoluted plot that sometimes left me scratching my head wondering “Why” or “What” it was always interesting and very well written.  There are some sexy, steamy downright kinky bits. Allie’s sister May and her boyfriend Ben play important roles.  Their story was in the first book of this series, TRULY. Also Nev, Winston’s brother, and Cath show up which is a definite treat since they were the H/h of Knox’s ABOUT LAST NIGHT a 5-star joy of a book. Winston had a role in that book also which is not billed as part of this current trilogy but worth a read.  Back to this book; it slows down a bit in the middle and really has some over the top drama.  Can this many characters all have this much angst? Yes, yes they can, and it is a bit exhausting.

You don’t need to read any of the aforementioned books, in and out of this series, to enjoy this book. But I do encourage you to delve into a Ruthie Knox book.  She writes fun, intelligent, sensuous contemporary romance that can be topped by no other.

The New York Trilogy Series:

  1. Truly (May and Ben)
  2. Madly (Allie and Winston)

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Advance Review- Last Night With A Duke by Amelia Grey

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Title: Last Night With A Duke: The Rakes of St. James (book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Amelia Grey

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, March 7, 2017 (preorder available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 304

Rating:4

Sexy Rating: 5- not explicit

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:         

Could finding love be his greatest scandal of all?

The Duke of Griffin has never lived down his reputation as one of the Rakes of St. James. Now rumors are swirling around London that his twin sisters may bear the brunt of his past follies. Hiring a competent chaperone is the only thing Griffin has on his mind–until he meets the lovely and intriguing Miss Esmeralda Swift. In ways he could never have expected, she arouses more than just his curiosity.

Esmeralda Swift considered herself too sensible to ever fall for a scoundrel, but that was before she met the irresistibly seductive Duke of Griffin. His employment offer proves too tempting for her to resist. She can’t afford to be distracted by his devilish charms because the stakes are so high for his sisters’ debut Season. . .unless one of London’s most notorious rakes has had a change of heart and is ready to make Esmeralda his bride.

Last Night with the Duke, the first novel in the brand-new Regency Rakes of St. James series by New York Times bestselling author Amelia Grey.

**

Esmeralda and Griffin are attracted to each other the minute he is caught eavesdropping on her scolding her employee at the Employment agency she manages. Immediately he decides that no one else will do to help chaperone his twin sisters during their debut season.  Esmeralda hesitates until he offers a huge salary and says she can bring along her sister, Josephine, and their dog, Napoleon. Of course the attraction escalates but there are secrets that Esmeralda hides and a misunderstanding that may tear them apart.

I was captivated by the handsome Duke and by his fellow rakish friends, both dukes, Rath and Hawk. (Their stories to come in future books in the series) The chemistry between Esmeralda and Griffin was hot, no matter how much they tried to douse the flames it always flared up. Napoleon, the dog, was a comical side character.  Griffin’s twin sisters Sara and Vera were typical rival siblings, so much fun to watch them try to outdo each other in their romantic debut season.  Although a bit predictable it was a very entertaining read and a delightful first book in a series.

 

 

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Happy Valentine’s Day from Deet

valentine-bookmarks-etsy

Happy Valentine’s Day

You can find these bookmarks and more as a downloadable printable at Esty.

Here is the URL.

Printable Bookmarks

 

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Advance Review- Sinful Scottish Laird by Julia London

sinful-scottish-laird

Title: Sinful Scottish Laird: A Historical Romance Novel (The Highland Grooms, book #2)

Genre: Historical Romance/Highlands

Author: Julia London

Publisher: HQN, Feb. 28, 2017 (preorder available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 384

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

Widowed and forced to remarry in three years’ time or forfeit her son’s inheritance, Daisy Bristol, Lady Chatwick, has plenty of suitors vying for her hand…and her fortune. But a letter from a long-lost love sends Daisy and her young son to her Scottish Highland estate to buy time for his return. Along the way she encounters the powerful Cailean Mackenzie, laird of Arrandale and a notorious smuggler, and she is utterly—though unwillingly—bewitched.

Cailean has no use for any Sassenach in his glen. But Daisy’s brazen, flirtatious nature and alluring beauty intrigue him. When her first love appears unexpectedly at her estate, Cailean knows that a passionate woman like Daisy cannot marry this man. And to prevent the union, Cailean must put his own life at risk to win her heart.

**

In the first book of this series, Wild Wicked Scot, we are introduced to Arren and Margot.  In this the second book of the series some years have passed and this is the story of their oldest son, Cailean and his falling in love with Sassenach, Daisy. Cailean has fought against his attraction to the flirty Daisy because he knows she must marry an Englishman to protect her son’s inheritance. There are reasons he feels he could never reside in England and he determines to encourage her to marry someone else.  Daisy knows that she must marry by year’s end.  She thinks that Robert her love of her teen years will suit, but she can’t reconcile her attraction to Cailean.

Once again I have enjoyed the well-developed characters in this series.  The story is page-turning interesting. I liked both Daisy, who knew what she wanted but also knew her duty to her son, and Cailean who knew he had to let her go.  The problems were tied up a bit too conveniently but the addition of a character from book one was welcome at the end. I hope Knox gets his own book.

This is a standalone novel with cameos by characters from the first book in the series.  You can pick up this one without having read the first and you will not be lost although I encourage you to enjoy the first book.

The Higland Grooms Series by Julia London:

  1. Wild Wicked Scot (Arren and Margot)
  2. Sinful Scottish Laird (Cailean and Daisy)
  3. Hard-Hearted Highlander (Robbie and ?)April 2017

 

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Advance Review- Royal Affair by Parker Swift

royal-affair

Title: Royal Affair (Royal Scandal, book #1)

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Erotic

Author: Parker Swift

Publisher: Forever Yours, Feb. 14, 2017 (preorder available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 352

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5+

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

One seriously sexy son-of-a-duke . . .

Behind the posh British accent, Dylan Hale possesses a down-and-dirty sexiness. Off-the-charts gorgeous, a ruthless architect . . . and did I mention he’s a future duke? Every time we touch, it’s wildfire. All need and lust and heat. But Dylan has rules: just sex, no one can know, and in the bedroom he gets complete control. All I have to do is follow the rules, because falling in love with Dylan Hale is all it would take to screw everything up . . . royally. Dylan and Lydia’s story continues!

Royal Scandal Series Book 2: Royal Disaster Book 3: Royal Treatment

***

Lydia is a sweet college grad about to start her dream job when she meets Dylan.  At first she doesn’t know he’s 1) a Marquess, 2) a paparazzi magnet and 3) a world renowned architect.  All Lydia knows is that she is in instant lust with this super-hot man. Dylan is all about seducing Lydia but only on his terms; which means no public appearances and he calls the shots.

This is very Fifty Shades meets Sweet filthy boy.  The sex is hot and kinky.  The attraction and sexual tension is off the charts.  The main characters are very believable but the side characters are a bit sketchy.  We have an Alpha man and a naïve younger woman.  There is some BDSM and spanking. I enjoyed this book but couldn’t help comparing it to those other books I mentioned. There is little that is original.

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Advance Review- If The Duke Demands by Anna Harrington

if-the-duke-demands

Title: If The Duke Demands (Capturing The Carlisles, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Anna Harrington

Publisher: Forever, Feb. 28, 2017 (preorder available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 368

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:         

A LESSON IN SEDUCTION . . . Miranda Hodgkins has only ever wanted one thing: to marry Robert Carlisle. And she simply can’t wait a moment longer. During the Carlisle family masquerade ball, Miranda boldly sneaks into his bedchamber with seduction on her mind. Soon she’s swept into rock-hard arms for the most breathtaking kiss of her life. But when the masks come off, she’s horrified to find herself face-to-face with Sebastian, the Duke of Trent-Robert’s formidable older brother.

Shocked to find Miranda in his bed, Sebastian quickly offers her a deal to avoid scandal: He’ll help her win his brother’s heart if she’ll find him the perfect wife. But what begins as a simple negotiation soon spirals out of control. For the longer this reformed rake tries to make a match for Miranda, the more he wants to keep her all to himself.

**

Humorous….no ….it is absolutely hysterical at times.  There is sexual tension, hijinks and confusion all adding up to a delightful read.  Sebastian knows that the orphaned ward of his tenant farmer, Miranda, is not the woman of society standing that he needs for his Duchess but he can’t seem to help himself in his obsessive lusting after her.  Miranda, wants Robert but there is something compelling her toward Sebastian.  This is a fun book that is witty without being silly and dramatic without ever being maudlin.  Anna Harrington has given us a terrific start to her new series and I can’t wait to read the books about Sebastian’s brothers Quinton and Robert Carlisle. I highly recommend this book.

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