Monthly Archives: April 2017

Advance Review- Never Trust a Pirate by Valerie Bowman

Never Trust A Pirate

Title: Never Trust A Pirate (Playful Brides Series)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Valerie Bowman

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, May 2, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 304

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:         

The rules of engagement were never so scandalous. . .

A rumored pirate and the scurrilous black sheep of his well-to- do family, Cade Cavendish relishes his world of rebellion, deception, and seduction. Nothing and no one can hold him to be the duty-bound, honorable man he is expected to be. But when an unexpected run-in at his twin brother’s estate with a ravishing, raven-haired maid leads her to believe he’s actually a viscount, Cade’s renegade life is thrown wildly off-kilter. And even though a case of mistaken identity can be quickly set to rights, matters of the heart are quite different…

Miss Danielle LaCrosse is startled to learn that the handsome gentleman who radiates sin and has the devil in his eyes is not her employer the Viscount, but rather his infamous brother. A former heiress, orphaned and left penniless, Danielle has more than a few secrets of her own. Cade may be skilled at coaxing even the most hidden desires out of Danielle but can he earn her trust—and win her heart—as they embark on an adventure to confront a dangerous enemy from both of their pasts . . . and uncover the identity of the so-called Black Fox along the way?

***

If you like novels that give you some twists and surprises then I’m sure you will like this one.  There are secrets that both Danielle and Cade are hiding.  This novel is about the business of spies and also revenge and falling in love.  The side characters we have met before in previous novels of the series but in no way will you be lost if this is your first time.  Some characters, like Grim, are particularly mysterious and I hope their story is on the horizon. There is action, adventure and steamy, sexy times.  Our hero is handsome and totally HOT and our heroine is feisty and full of surprises. I highly recommend this book and Valerie Bowman’s entire Playful Brides series.

 

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Rereading The Bridgertons-On The Way To The Wedding by Julia Quinn

On the way to the wedding

Title: On The Way to the Wedding (The Bridgertons, book #8)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Julia Quinn

Publisher: Avon, March 2009

Source: purchase

Pages: 384

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:         

A funny thing happened…

Unlike most men of his acquaintance, Gregory Bridgerton believes in true love. And he is convinced that when he finds the woman of his dreams, he will know in an instant that she is the one. And that is exactly what happened. Except…

She wasn’t the one. In fact, the ravishing Miss Hermione Watson is in love with another. But her best friend, the ever-practical Lady Lucinda Abernathy, wants to save Hermione from a disastrous alliance, so she offers to help Gregory win her over. But in the process, Lucy falls in love. With Gregory! Except…

Lucy is engaged. And her uncle is not inclined to let her back out of the betrothal, even once Gregory comes to his senses and realizes that it is Lucy, with her sharp wit and sunny smile, who makes his heart sing. And now, on the way to the wedding, Gregory must risk everything to ensure that when it comes time to kiss the bride, he is the only man standing at the altar…

***

Ah yes, the final Bridgerton sibling is given a book in which he is to fall in love.  All Julia Quinn fans are sighing with the satisfaction that they all get an HEA or with tears that the saga has come to a close.  I’m a bit of both but Ms. Quinn has given us one last hurrah in that she did pen 2nd Epilogues for all the books which can be found in THE BRIDGERTONS: Happily Ever After.  But back to Gregory and Lucy…

This was a delightful book where falling in love seems to be the rule for everyone. Gregory falls for Hermione, Hermione loves Edmond, Lucy is engaged to Lord Halsby, Richard loves Hermione, Lucy loves Gregory, Lord Halsby loves?….Yes, it seems that Hermione is the most sought after and Lucy is her Regency style wingman.  How Ms. Quinn brings about a successful HEA with all that is going on is just a testament to her skill as an author.  Just when we think that all will work out for the best a twist throws all our speculation to the wind. Such Fun! Gregory is such a handsome, well-spoken Bridgerton just like his brothers.  Lucy is organized, practical and not flighty like Hermione, but also not as beautiful which gives her a slight inferiority complex.  Somehow we know, probably because we have met this family in the other 7 books, Gregory will come to his senses and fall in love with Lucy.

Another terrific book in this terrific series.  I originally read them out of order but I really suggest that you tackle them in order like I did for this reread.  And like me you can now get each one as you finish the previous because they are all available. Yay!

The Bridgerton Series (H or h)

  1. The Duke and I (Daphne)
  2. The Viscount Who Loved Me (Anthony)
  3. An Offer From A Gentleman (Benedict)
  4. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (Colin)
  5. To Sir Phillip With Love (Eloise)
  6. When He was wicked (Francesca)]
  7. It’s In His Kiss (Hyacinth)
  8. On The Way To The Wedding (Gregory
  9. The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After (2nd Epilogues to each book and a Violet B. novella)

 

 

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Release Day Review-Hard-Hearted Highlander by Julia London

Hard-Hearted Highlander

Title: Hard-Hearted Highlander (The Highland Grooms, book #3)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Julia London

Publisher: HQN Books, April 25, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 384

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:         

An indomitable governess…a brooding Highlander…a forbidden affair… 

An ill-fated elopement cost English-born governess Bernadette Holly her reputation, her unsuitable lover and any chance of a future match. She has nothing left to fear—not even the bitter, dangerously handsome Scot due to marry her young charge. Naïve wallflower Avaline is terrified to wed Rabbie Mackenzie, but if he sends her home, she will be ruined. Bernadette’s solution: convince Rabbie to get Avaline to cry off…while ignoring her own traitorous attraction to him.

A forced engagement to an Englishwoman is a hard pill for any Scot to swallow. It’s even worse when the fiancée in question is a delicate, foolish young miss—unlike her spirited, quick-witted governess. Sparring with Bernadette brings passion and light back to Rabbie’s life after the failed Jacobite uprising. His clan’s future depends upon his match to another, but how can any Highlander forsake a love that stirs his heart and soul?

**

For all highlander lovers this is a terrific story.  We have a naïve teenager, a worldly governess and a handsome highlander.  The makings of a really satisfying read.  Rabbie is still mourning his first love and is fighting a severe depression when he agrees to help his family and clan by marrying an English debutante who lives on the adjoining land. Avaline wants no part of the brooding, unlikable Rabbie but is being forced to marry.  Bernadette at first dislikes Rabbie but eventually understands his despondency and falls madly in love with him.  This is a triangle that seems totally without a happy outcome.  That the author, Julia “fantastic” London, pulls off a HEA is because of her superb storytelling skill.

I guarantee you will like this one and come back for more from this author. All books in the series are connected by cameos of previous characters but can definitely standalone. Read them all, you’ll thank me.

The Highland Grooms Series:(Deet has reviewed all of these, search in the search box on the left column for the review)

  1. Wild wicked Scot
  2. Sinful Scottish Laird
  3. Hard-Hearted Highlander

 

 

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HR Review- Do You Want To Start A Scandal by Tessa Dare

Do You Want To start a Scandal

Title: Do You Want To Start A Scandal (Castles Ever After)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Tessa Dare

Publisher: Avon, Sept. 2016

Source: Purchase

Pages: 387

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

On the night of the Parkhurst ball, someone had a scandalous tryst in the library. Was it Lord Canby, with the maid, on the divan? Or Miss Fairchild, with a rake, against the wall? Perhaps the butler did it. All Charlotte Highwood knows is this: it wasn’t her. But rumors to the contrary are buzzing. Unless she can discover the lovers’ true identity, she’ll be forced to marry Piers Brandon, Lord Granville–the coldest, most arrogantly handsome gentleman she’s ever had the misfortune to embrace. When it comes to emotion, the man hasn’t got a clue. But as they set about finding the mystery lovers, Piers reveals a few secrets of his own. The oh-so-proper marquess can pick locks, land punches, tease with sly wit . . . and melt a woman’s knees with a single kiss. The only thing he guards more fiercely than Charlotte’s safety is the truth about his dark past. Their passion is intense. The danger is real. Soon Charlotte’s feeling torn. Will she risk all to prove her innocence? Or surrender it to a man who’s sworn to never love?

**

This book was a lot of fun.  Charlotte is a naïve, but intelligent young woman and Piers is a spy for the crown. They are inadvertently caught in a compromising situation that compels Piers to propose marriage to Charlotte.  Charlotte has other plans for her immediate future and proceeds to attempt to solve the mystery surrounding her compromise. Of course, much of the investigation leads to hilarity but also drama and yes, true love.

I enjoyed this book but I was put off by the too-convenient wrap ups to the mysteries and some quite unbelievable happenings.  Still, it was an entertaining read.

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Novella Review- A Breach of Promise by Victoria Vane

A Breach of Promise

Title: A Breach of Promise (The Rules of Engagement, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance Novella/ Georgian

Author: Victoria Vane

Publisher: Vane Publishing LLC, 2nd edition, June 2016

Source: purchase for Kindle

Pages: 137

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:         

When charm and persuasion fail… Only seduction remains…

On the night of her betrothal, Lydia Trent receives just a taste of what awaits her in marriage with her fiancé…and then he leaves her wanting. Now, after waiting six years for her exceedingly reluctant bridegroom to honor his troth, Lydia is resolved to break it off. When Marcus, Lord Russell, receives Lydia’s letter demanding a release from their marriage contract, he is at first stunned, but certain that he’ll have her eating out of his hand with his usual wit and charm. Although confident that he’ll repair the damage, he has no clue how determined the headstrong Lydia is to thwart his every effort to win her back. Yet, Marcus discovers, in spite of her conviction to end the engagement, Lydia is more responsive to his touch than he ever imagined. He just needs to get her alone to unleash the promised passion he sees within his virgin fiancée. Armed with this knowledge, he will use any tool in his arsenal to exploit her weakness. In short, he’ll just have to ruin her!

***

I am a fan of Victoria Vane.  Her Historical Romances are my favorites and this short novella is no exception.  In signature steamy prose the author has given us a look at a sweet heroine who has reached her limit of understanding and a rather self-absorbed hero who his getting his comeuppance. That the author can bring to life these well-constructed characters in such a short book is to her credit. She also introduces us to Mariah and Nick, the protagonists in the next book in the series, A PLEDGE OF PASSION. I recommend this book to all romance readers.

 

 

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Rereading The Bridgertons-(#7) It’s In His Kiss by Julia Quinn

It's In His Kiss

Title: It’s In His Kiss (The Bridgertons book #7)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Julia Quinn

Publisher: Avon, 2005

Source: Purchase, on my Keeper Shelf

Pages: 368

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:         

Meet Our Hero . . . Gareth St. Clair is in a bind. His father, who detests him, is determined to beggar the St. Clair estates and ruin his inheritance. Gareth’s sole bequest is an old family diary, which may or may not contain the secrets of his past . . . and the key to his future. The problem is—it’s written in Italian, of which Gareth speaks not a word.

Meet Our Heroine . . . All the ton agreed: there was no one quite like Hyacinth Bridgerton. She’s fiendishly smart, devilishly outspoken, and according to Gareth, probably best in small doses. But there’s something about her—something charming and vexing—that grabs him and won’t quite let go . . .

Meet Poor Mr. Mozart . . . Or don’t. But rest assured, he’s spinning in his grave when Gareth and Hyacinth cross paths at the annual—and annually discordant—Smythe-Smith musicale. To Hyacinth, Gareth’s every word seems a dare, and she offers to translate his diary, even though her Italian is slightly less than perfect. But as they delve into the mysterious text, they discover that the answers they seek lie not in the diary, but in each other . . . and that there is nothing as simple—or as complicated—as a single, perfect kiss.

***

This is my favorite of the Bridgerton Series…perhaps I’ve said that about some of the others also.  But truly, this one has humor, adventure and that madcap heroine, Hyacinth Bridgerton. Hyacinth is a bit wary of Gareth at first because he has a very rakish reputation.  But she really likes the challenge of helping him to translate his grandmother’s diary.  Because of this challenge she and Gareth are together more than what would be usual.  Then in the diary they discover a mysterious clue to a treasure and they are off on an adventure. Of course along the way they are falling in love.

Julia Quinn once more has us loving the Bridgerton family, Lady Danbury too.  The others in the family make cameos but this is truly all about Hyacinth and Gareth. A five star addition to this wonderful series. (I gave this book 4 stars when I read it the first time.  What was I thinking??)

The Bridgerton Series (H or h)

  1. The Duke and I (Daphne)
  2. The Viscount Who Loved Me (Anthony)
  3. An Offer From A Gentleman (Benedict)
  4. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (Colin)
  5. To Sir Phillip With Love (Eloise)
  6. When He was wicked (Francesca)]
  7. It’s In His Kiss (Hyacinth)
  8. On The Way To The Wedding (Gregory

 

 

 

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Release Day Review- The Thing About Love by Julie James

The Thing About Love

Title: The Thing About Love

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Julie James

Publisher: Berkley, April 18, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 380

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

The New York Times bestselling author of Suddenly One Summer blows the covers of two FBI agents who can’t hide who they are from each other…   FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army Ranger clashed during their training at Quantico and gladly went their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to be assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting.   For both of them, being paired with an old rival couldn’t come at a worse time. Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team. In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work together—a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic beachfront resort as part of the investigation. Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a lot more complicated…

***

Everything you wanted to know about FBI Special Agents and Black Ops training.  Oh you wanted more romance, well you might have to wait a long while in this read but eventually the hero, John , and the heroine, Jessica, do get around to lusting after each other.  Of course their first meet, 6 years prior, was competitive smack-down, bullying sessions at their initial FBI Academy training. Not exactly conducive to romance although our hero insists that’s the way he rolls in attempts at generating romantic interest.  Yes, I do have issues with this book.  And, now don’t be surprised, I liked it even in spite of those issues.

I do like a book where I learn about a subject heretofore not in my wheel house, the FBI training. I liked the info about undercover work.  Since I am a newbie to this subject I can only assume the author has her facts straight. That these two people who hated each other fell in love was a stretch but at least we finally get some romance in this romance book.  I thought there were several missed opportunities for some action and crisis since we only get that at the very end of the book and then it is nothing much.

Do I recommend it? With reservations. If you are a fan of this author, yes. If you want to learn about the FBI, sure. If you want action and romance, not so much but it is steamy and sexy

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Recent Release Review-My One True Highlander by Suzanne Enoch

My One True Highlander

Title: My One True Highlander: A No Ordinary Hero Novel, Book #2

Genre: Historical Romance/Highlands

Author: Suzanne Enoch

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, April 4, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 319

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:         

DARE TO FALL IN LOVE Scotland, 1812—Rugged Highlander Graeme’s loyalty to his clan means that their enemies are his own—even when that includes his neighbor, the Duke of Lattimer. It’s a fight he doesn’t relish, but when Graeme’s reckless younger brothers foolishly kidnap Lattimer’s younger sister, all bets are off…

Lady Marjorie Forrester may be aligned with the enemy, but capturing her puts Graeme squarely in the middle of a war. If he turns Marjorie over to his clan chief, she could be killed. If he lets her go, his brothers could face prison. In addition, the woman can’t stop trying to civilize the lot of them! What’s a Highlander to do, then, but keep the stubborn lass close…and explore the unexpected passion that develops between them? But how can Graeme protect Marjorie and his brothers when both Lattimer and his own clan are on the warpath—and will do whatever it takes to tear these two star-crossed lovers apart, in My One True Highlander, the next No Ordinary Hero Scottish romance from New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Enoch.

***

The premise was a good one but I kept losing interest in this book.  Perhaps because so much of it was confined to the one setting of Graeme’s house.  That’s only speculation.  I would read a few pages and set the book aside.  This is not how I used to read a Suzanne Enoch book.  I’m a fan of this author but I found myself bored with this one. Not even the side characters of Graeme’s brothers or Marjorie’s companion could rouse me to be interested.  I take total responsibility for this attitude because I do think that those who love stories set in the Scottish Highlands will like this book, especially those who want to follow up on book one of this series. The writing is good and the characters are well developed. We met Marjorie in Book #1 and it was good to see her star in this story.

 

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Rereading The Bridgertons- When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn

When He Was Wicked

 

Title: When He Was Wicked (The Bridgertons book #6)

 

Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency

 

Author: Julia Quinn

 

Publisher: Avon, 2004 (reprint 2009)

 

Source: Free for review from the publisher

 

Pages: 364

 

Rating: 4.5

 

Sexy Rating: 5

 

Violence Rating: 0

 

Description from Amazon.com:

In every life there is a turning point.  A moment so tremendous, so sharp and breathtaking, that one knows one’s life will never be the same. For Michael Stirling, London’s most infamous rake, that moment came the first time he laid eyes on Francesca Bridgerton. After a lifetime of chasing women, of smiling slyly as they chased him, of allowing himself to be caught but never permitting his heart to become engaged, he took one look at Francesca Bridgerton and fell so fast and hard into love it was a wonder he managed to remain standing. Unfortunately for Michael, however, Francesca’s surname was to remain Bridgerton for only a mere thirty-six hours longer — the occasion of their meeting was, lamentably, a supper celebrating her imminent wedding to his cousin.

But that was then . . . Now Michael is the earl and Francesca is free, but still she thinks of him as nothing other than her dear friend and confidant. Michael dares not speak to her of his love . . . until one dangerous night, when she steps innocently into his arms, and passion proves stronger than even the most wicked of secrets . . .

***

Francesca and Michael play a cat and mouse game of frustrating sexual desire for most of this book.  The sexual tension is craftily built until we give a big sigh when they finally fall into each other’s arms.  But then something happens that turns sweet, grieving, proper Francesca into a wanton woman so out of character that it shocked me, not just once, several times.  That Michael was a rather rough and tumble lover was also a surprise since he was always so careful of Francesca and her feelings. Yes, they had passion for each other. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the love scenes no matter how much I longed for them to be together.  So that is why this fabulous book only got 4.5 stars from me.  Everything else was 5-star.

 

The Bridgerton Series:

 

1. The Duke and I (Daphne)

 

2. The Viscount Who Loved Me (Anthony)

 

3. An Offer From a Gentleman (Benedict)

 

4. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (Colin)

 

5. To Sir Phillip, With Love (Eloise)

 

6. When He Was Wicked (Francesca)

 

7. It’s In His Kiss (Hyacinth)

 

8.       On The Way To The Wedding (Gregory)

 

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Recent Release Review- I Dared The Duke by Anna Bennett

I Dared the Duke

Title: I Dared The Duke: A Wayward Wallflowers Novel

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Anna Bennett

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperback, April, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 365

Rating:4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

DARE TO FALL IN LOVE

Alexander Savage, the Duke of Blackshire, is known throughout the ton for three things: the burn scars on his neck, his ornery disposition, and the trail of broken hearts behind him. None of which would concern Miss Elizabeth Lacey in the least—if she weren’t living under his roof. As his grandmother’s companion, Beth is all too concerned with the moody and compelling duke. Incensed by his plans to banish the sweet dowager duchess to the country, Beth refuses to do his bidding. If Alex wants her help, he’s going to have to take her dare…and grant her three wishes.

Alex adores his grandmother, which is precisely why she must leave. A string of unfortunate incidents has him worried for the safety of everyone around him—including the dowager’s loyal and lovely companion, Beth. But the notorious wallflower isn’t as meek as she appears, and as their battle of wills heats up, so does Alex’s desire. He’s dangerously close to falling in love with her…and revealing secrets he’d rather keep hidden. How can he convince her that his darkest days are behind him—and that, for the first time in forever, his heart is true?

I Dared the Duke continues Anna Bennett’s Regency-era romance series, The Wayward Wallflowers.

***

If you like your heroines feisty and your heroes handsome, if a bit difficult, then this is your book. Beth adores her employer who just happens to be Alex’s grandmother.  Alex thinks someone is trying to kill him and he worries for the safety of his grandmother and Beth.  He doesn’t want to tell them why he wants them out of his London house and into the country so Beth digs in her heels and will only go if Alex grants his grandmother’s wishes. There is a mystery to be solved and secrets to be discovered.

I enjoyed this fun and light novel.  At times Beth’s attitude was a bit present-day instead of Regency so if you are a stickler for authenticity then you may be disappointed. I found it to be charming. The romance is slow developing so it feels very natural.

(I love that book cover!!)

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