Monthly Archives: June 2017

Review- A Fallen Lady by Elizabeth Kingston

A Fallen Lady

Title: A Fallen Lady
Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency
Author: Elizabeth Kingston
Source: purchase
Publisher: Author
Pages: 364
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 5
Description from Amazon:

Six years ago, to the outrage of her family and the delight of London gossips, Lady Helen Dehaven refused to marry the man to whom she was betrothed. Even more shockingly, her refusal came on the heels of her scandalous behavior: she and her betrothed were caught in a most compromising position. Leaving her reputation in tatters and her motivations a mystery, Helen withdrew to a simple life in a little village among friends, where her secrets remained hers alone.

For reasons of his own, Stephen Hampton, Lord Summerdale, is determined to learn the truth behind the tangled tale of Helen’s ruin. There is nothing he abhors so much as scandal – nothing he prizes so well as discretion – and so he is shocked to find, when he tracks Helen down, that he cannot help but admire her. Against all expectations, he finds himself forgiving her scandalous history in favor of only being near her.

But the bitter past will not relinquish Helen’s heart so easily. How can she trust a man so steeped in the culture of high society, who conceals so much? And how can he, so devoted to the appearance of propriety, ever love a fallen lady?

**
After having read several very positive reviews of this book I just had to see what all the superlatives were about. I was not disappointed! This is the type of book that makes a reader cringe at any interruption. I wanted nothing more than to just continue reading and I was so sorry when it ended.

Helen had a trauma so devastating to her that she can hardly get words out to describe the horror. So she keeps her secrets deep inside; only sharing them with her best friend, Marie-Anne.
Stephen’s estate is close to where Helen lives and Helen’s brother has asked Stephen if he will help him to reconcile with Helen. Even though Stephen is very proper and views Helen as a fallen woman he is attracted to her but she keeps her secrets and distance. Stephen has some secrets of his own that he doesn’t share; he has quite a few.

This is a very emotional book. These two have to navigate a societal divide in order to be together. I kept reading to see how this author’s stunning prose and sensitive characterization would bring these two broken people together. Turns out, she does it beautifully.

Highly recommended!!

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Review- The Stone Warriors: Kato by D.B. Reynolds

The Stone Warriors Kato

Title: The Stone Warriors: Kato (book #2)
Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance
Author: D.B. Reynolds
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: ImaJinn, June 23, 2017
Pages: 254
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 5+
Description from Amazon:

It was a time when gods walked the earth, when armies fought not for bits of land, but for the very existence of humanity. On such a battlefield, five formidable warriors stood against an evil greater than any the earth had ever seen. But evil is not an honorable foe. Betrayed by someone they trusted, the warriors were cursed, one by one, tossed into the maelstrom of time, imprisoned in stone, their freedom resting on nearly impossible conditions. Until . . .

Kato Amadi . . . born of darkest sorcery, unstoppable on the battlefield, his magic is as deadly as his blade. But not even magic could save him from vicious betrayal. Trapped for millennia in darkness and silence, he is freed at last, only to find himself in the middle of a battle against the very beasts of hell he was created to destroy.

Grace Van Allen is a scholar of ancient languages who toils in the dim recesses of a museum basement with only a beautiful stone warrior to keep her company. But when Grace calls upon her silent warrior to help her translate an obscure new language, she breaks the ancient curse holding him prisoner . . . and frees three deadly demons to rampage through her city.

Tracking demons is what Kato was born to do, but he’ll need Grace’s help. And when they discover that Kato’s enemy is still alive and still plotting against him, their hunt takes a dangerous turn, one that might just prove fatal for both of them . . .

**

Hold on to your bloomers, the studliness of Warrior Kato is going to melt them right off. Grace can’t resist him so how are we supposed to resist, and who would want to? If we have to go up against deadly blood-dripping demons I want this guy covering for me. We also get to see Nick, Damien and Cassey from book one but this is truly Kato’s show. Grace who works at the museum at first appears rather sedate but as the story unfolds we are treated to Grace the female warrior. Here’s a hint, she falls for Kato just as much as the reader but she gets dessert and we get to sigh. There are lots of bloody battles fought, so be forewarned. There is magic in this book both Dark and Light and I am once again totally in love with Nick. I did want more of Ryan the mathematician because that was a bit of a mystery not completely resolved. (perhaps D.B. will treat us to more of him in future books).

Here’s a riddle for you; what’s hotter than a summer heat wave? I thought you would be way ahead of me on this one. Correct, this absolutely mind bending, mind boggling, vicious, sexy down right dirty, delightful novel from Ms. Reynolds. This is number two in her Stone warriors series and she has once again come through with an original plot that kept me riveted. You can start with this book since there is sufficient back-story incorporated and you won’t be lost but reading the first book , the Stone Warriors: Damien, along with this one will make it more enjoyable. Then like me you will wait impatiently for the next in the series, The Stone warriors: Gabriel, to which we are given a peek at the end of this book.

 

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Release Day Review- Say Yes To The Scot by Cornwall, Harrington, McGoldrick and York

Say yes to the scot

Title: Say Yes to The Scot
Genre: Historical Romance/ Highlanders/ Anthology
Authors: Lecia Cornwall, May McGoldrick, Anna Harrington and Sabrina York
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Swerve, June 20, 2017
Pages: 410
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4

Description from Amazon/ Review From Deet:
HOW A LASS WED A HIGHLANDER by Lecia Cornwall
In this retelling of The Princess and The Pea, Laird Alex Munro of Culmore has just five weeks to find a bride and marry her…or else the clan will be cursed with ill luck. Cait MacLeod finds herself caught in a clan feud, and when she tries to stop a deadly raid, she ends up as Alex Munro’s prisoner. With timing running out, is this couple meant to be?

This is a fairytale complete with the expectation of fairy help or interference. It is a true Highland story with clan hostilities, good Lairds and bad and bonnie lasses who are looking for romance. Side characters seem so much wiser than the protagonists. Deets rating: 4.5

A MATCH MADE IN HEATHER by Anna Harrington
She was the laird’s daughter. He was nothing more than a penniless, nameless Scot with nothing to offer but his heart. Fate tore them apart, but now he’s back in her life with status, money and a title. Can they let go of past hurts and find love?
Whatever Anna Harrington writes turns out to be page turning and beautifully written and this story is no exception. There are revenge, longing, lust and dark secrets. Deet’s rating: 5

A MIDSUMMER WEDDING by May McGoldrick
Their marriage was two decades in the making. The young, educated woman and her highland, pirate husband, betrothed when they were still children. But on the day of their wedding, Elizabeth Hay and Alexander Macpherson are in for a surprise.

Another luscious addition to this anthology. Be prepared to put on a sweater because the chill of these characters in the rain for two days will give you trembles. Deets rating: 4.5

THE SCOT SAYS I DO by Sabrina York
Catherine Ross’s world is turned upside down when her brother gambles away every penny they own. But to make matters worse? He’s lost everything to none other than Duncan Mackay, the rugged Scot who Catherine loved for years–but he never noticed her, and now she positively loathes him. But her brother’s in danger of going to Newgate, and the despicable Duncan has a plan– she can claim back the money and save her brother. If she marries him…

This one is so yummy! Sabrina York knows her Highlanders and she can make us fall in love with the tough, brawny, yet tenderhearted Duncan just as Catherine did all those years ago. Deet‘s rating: 5

This Anthology is really a cut above the usual in that every novella was a winner. I’m used to finding stories in anthologies that are good and not so good and in this one they are all better than good. They are excellent. There is beautiful romance, suspense and sexy times. This is one for the keeper shelf.

 

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Advance Review- The Pleasures of Passion by Sabrina Jeffries

The pleasures of passion

Title: The Pleasures of Passion (Sinful suitors, book #4)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Sabrina Jeffries
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Pocketbooks, June 20, 2017, preorder available
Pages: 401
Rating: 4
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:

When Niall Lindsey, the Earl of Margrave, is forced to flee after killing a man in a duel, he expects his secret love, Brilliana Trevor, to go with him, or at the very least wait for him. To his shock, she does neither and sends him off with no promise for the future. Seven years and one pardon later, Niall returns to England disillusioned and cynical. And being blackmailed by the government into working with his former love to help catch a counterfeiter connected to her father doesn’t improve his mood any. But as his role as Brilliana’s fake fiancé brings his long-buried feelings to the surface once again, he wonders who is more dangerous—the counterfeiter or the woman rapidly stealing his heart.

Forced to marry another man after Niall was exiled, the now widowed Brilliana wants nothing to do with the reckless rogue who she believes abandoned her to a dreary, loveless life. So having to rely on him to save her father is the last thing she wants, much less trusts him with….But as their scheme strips away the lies and secrets of their shared past, can she let go of the old hurt and put her pride aside? Or will the pleasures of their renewed passion finally enable them both to rediscover love?

***

There is a lot going on in the first 50 pages so you better pay attention. This is a lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers trope that works because Ms. Jeffries is really adept at this kind of plotting. She does quite a bit of info dumping in the guise of dialog, which does make it more palatable. There is a mystery going on as to whom is the counterfeiter with some red herrings thrown in the path of our solving. As with most misunderstandings in HR we do wish that the Hero and Heroine would just confess their secrets to each other and get on with it, although, there are good reasons to stay quiet. This gets a bit exciting when the villain is uncovered.

Sabrina Jeffries has once again crafted a lusciously sensuous and intriguing addition to a very entertaining series. This is a standalone book so no problems if you are new to the series. I have enjoyed all the books in this series and recommend them to all Historical Romance readers.

 

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Rereading Sarah MacLean- Nine Rules To Break When Romancing A Rake

 

Nine Rules to Break

I originally posted this review  when this book was first published.  This week I reread it and liked it just as much as the first time.  I’m reposting in the hope that you will read this terrific book, the first by Sarah MacLean.

Title: Nine Rules To Break When Romancing A Rake
Genre: Regency Historical Romance
Author: Sarah MacLean
Publisher: ?
Source: Purchase
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5
Description from the author’s website:
A lady does not smoke cheroot.
She does not ride astride.
She does not fence or attend duels.
She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen’s club.
Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she’s vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she’s been missing.
But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.
If she’s not careful, she’ll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love
**
There is nothing I love more in a Historical Romance then fabulous writing and a yummy plot. Well…perhaps a good dose of humor, too. This book has all those and it made for a can’t-put-it-down read.
Callie is the all too respectable young woman who sees her chance for marriage and children fading into the land of lost dreams. She decides if she can’t have what she wants then she will have adventures like the men have. She makes her version of a Regency bucket-list and decides passionate kissing should top the list. Once she starts on the slippery slope of checking off her list, all manner of compromising situations ensue.
This delightful romance is laugh out loud in some scenes and also brought tears to my eyes in other scenes. The author weaves a spell that makes the reader care deeply about Callie and her happiness.
If you trust me, you cannot but delight in this book.
P.S. Lord Ralston, the hero, is the rake in question and don’t we love the bad boys?

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Advance Review- Duke With Benefits by Manda Collins

Title: Duke With Benefits (Studies In Scandal, book #2)

Duke with Benefits

Genre: Historical Romance/ Mystery
Author: Manda Collins
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, June 27, 2017 (preorder available)
Pages: 320
Rating: 4.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 5
Description from Amazon: Lady Daphne Forsyth is a brilliant mathematician with a burning passion for puzzles. When she learns that the library belonging to her benefactress houses the legendary Cameron Cipher—an encrypted message that, once solved, holds the key to great riches—Daphne is on the case. Unfortunately, her race to unlock the cipher’s code is continually thwarted by a deliciously handsome distraction she hadn’t counted on. . .and cannot resist.
Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland, is curious as to why Daphne is spending so much time snooping around his aunt’s bookshelves. He’s even more intrigued by her bold yet calculating manner: She is unapologetic about her secret quest. . .and the fiery attraction that develops between them both. But how can they concentrate on solving a perplexing enigma once the prospect of true love enters the equation?

***
This is the second book in the Studies in Scandal series that was introduced in book #1, Ready Set Rogue. The series deals with four highly intelligent young women who together inherit a country estate from a benefactress who believes in their bluestocking leanings. To keep their inheritance the women must live at the estate for a year.
Daphne Forsyth has an inability to tell a white lie, she takes most everything spoken literally, which often causes others to have hurt feelings. This distresses Daphne since she is really a nice young woman who does not mean to hurt her friends. Dalton finds her entertaining and tries to help with her social faux pas. He is also falling in love with her and meets resistance from Daphne who has no desire to marry. She is content to be a bluestocking mathematician. There are evil villains who will stop at nothing to secure the treasure for themselves.
I thoroughly enjoyed this addition to the series. The romance is fun and certainly steamy, the mystery kept me guessing and the characters are well developed. I do think the reader will enjoy this book more if they read the first book in the series. That book gives a true foundation for the mysteries and the young women. However this book can be read as a standalone.
I can recommend this book to all Historical Romance readers. I certainly look forward to the next book in the series.
.

 

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Review- The King of Bourbon Street by Thea de Salle

The King of Bourbon Street

Title: The King of Bourbon Street (NOLA Nights book #1)

Genre: Contemporary Romance/ Erotic

Author: Thea de Salle

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Pocket Star, Feb. 2017

Pages: 280

Rating: 4

Sexy rating: 5+

Violence rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

Hotel chain mogul Sol DuMont is about to learn that some of life’s biggest surprises come in deceptively small packages, namely a petite heiress named Rain who is hell-bent on upsetting her family’s expectations in this first book in the all new series by Thea de Salle, set against the sultry backdrop of New Orleans.

Thirty-seven-year-old Sol DuMont is a divorcee and the owner of a mid-sized hotel chain in New Orleans. Since Hurricane Katrina, his fathers death, and the decision that he and his ex-wife Maddy are far better off friends than lovers, he’s lost interest in almost everything he held dear, parties, people, and pushing limits. All his limits.

Then Arianna Barrington checks into his hotel. Twenty-four-year-old Arianna (Rain) Barrington could have been society’s sweetheart. Her family is moneyed, connected press darlings, and make sweeping headlines from coast to coast for reasons both good and bad. But when her mother shoves her at Charles Harwood the obnoxious, entitled heir of Harwood Corp. to cement a billion-dollar business merger, Rain does the only thing she can think of to escape: she creates a scandal so big Harwood doesn’t want her anymore before fleeing to New Orleans for much-needed rest and relaxation. All she wants is jazz piano, beignets, and to sail the Mississippi. What she gets is Sol DuMont, a whirlwind affair, and a hands-on education in sex, power play, and pushing limits. All her limits.

**

This is a really good story peppered throughout with BDSM sex. I think it important that you know this upfront since there is little if any indication in the synopsis. Arianna (Rain) is trying to gain her independence from a controlling Mother so she flees to New Orleans with her brother Vaughan as chaperone.  Sol DuMont is the head of a family-owned chain of hotels, he is the CEO and manages The Seaside in New Orleans where he lives. He and Arianna have instant chemistry and embark on a torrid, erotic affair.  Arianna’s mother, Elise, is not having Arianna’s disobedience and insists on coming between Sol and Arianna.

This is very well written and I could probably have given it 5 stars if I was inclined to enjoy the BDSM sex in this story.  However, that erotica is not my cup of tea but it is well done in this book. There is romance and interesting side characters especially Sol’s ex-wife Maddy who introduced him to the erotic pleasures he now craves and who is featured in the next book in this series, The Queen of Dauphine Street.

 

 

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