Monthly Archives: March 2018

Advance Review- The Hellion by Christi Caldwell

The Hellion

Title: The Hellion (Wicked Wallflowers, book #1)
Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency
Author: Christi Caldwell
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Montlake, April 3, 2018
Pages: 295
Rating: 4
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:

 

Christi Caldwell’s Wicked Wallflowers series burns hot as two rivals meet in the flesh and feel the heat…
Adair Thorne has just watched his gaming-hell dream disappear into a blaze of fire and ash, and he’s certain that his competitors, the Killorans, are behind it. His fury and passion burn even hotter when he meets Cleopatra Killoran, a tart-mouthed vixen who mocks him at every turn. If she were anyone else but the enemy, she’d ignite a desire in him that would be impossible to control.
No one can make Cleopatra do anything. That said, she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her siblings―even if that means being sponsored by their rivals for a season in order to land a noble husband. But she will not allow her head to be turned by the infuriating and darkly handsome Adair Thorne.
There’s only one thing that threatens the rules of the game: Cleopatra’s secret. It could unravel the families’ tenuous truce and shatter the unpredictably sinful romance mounting between the hellion…and a scoundrel who could pass for the devil himself.

**
What happens when a wild-child is thrown together with a hard-as-nails alpha? Sparks fly, venom is spit and the vitriol of hatred is unleashed. That is until the two protagonists get together and turn all of that into lust . We have met Cleopatra Killoran and Adair Thorne in THE SINFUL BRIDES series, previous to this one. They are both products of the London slums, raised by the evil Diggory until they made an escape. Cleo is the sister of Adair’s rival gambling hell owner and there is only mistrust and antipathy between the H/h and also between the gaming hells. It seems that a love match is insurmountable Until the thrilling climax.

I enjoyed this look at Cleopatra, her sisters (heroines of the next books in the series), the seamier side of London and Adair Thorne partner in the Hell and Sin gaming hell. As usual Christi Caldwell has created characters we care about and who jump off the page. The book is infused with adventure, dialog that evokes Cleo and Adair’s cockney origins and sizzling sexual tension. My only dislike is that the antipathy between the H/h went on too long for my taste. I highly recommend this standalone book but encourage you to read the SINFUL BRIDES series to get even a more in depth feel for the St.Giles, London and the world of the gaming hells.

The Vixen (Wicked Wallflowers, book #2) coming in August.

The Vixen

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Release Day Review- To Woo A Wicked Widow by Jenna Jaxon

To Woo A Wicked Widow

Title: To Woo A Wicked Widow (The Widows Club, book #1)
Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency
Author: Jenna Jaxon
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Lyrical Press, March 27, 2018
Pages: 368
Rating: 3.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:
The war years are behind them.
The future is before them.
And one by one, the widows of Lyttlefield Park are getting restless . . .

Lady Charlotte Cavendish is still the spirited girl who tried to elope in the name of love. That dream was thwarted by her father who trapped her into a loveless, passionless marriage. But now widowed, Charlotte is free to reenter the giddy world of the ton—and pursue her desires. For hardly your typical widow, she remains innocent to the pleasures of the flesh. Yet her life is finally her own, and she intends to keep it that way . . .

Nash, the twelfth Earl of Wrotham, is beguiled by Charlotte at first sight—and the feeling is mutual. When he receives her intriguing invitation to a house party, the marriage-minded lord plans to further their acquaintance. But even he cannot sway her aversion to matrimony, and only with great restraint does he resist her most tempting offer. For unbeknownst to Charlotte, the misadventures of the past are revisiting them both, and bedding her could cost him everything—or give him everything he ever wanted . . .

**
A very clever premise; several widows in need of new husbands (or not) are gathered together by their friend Charlotte at a house party. There are gentlemen invited, some honorable and some not so much. Interesting relationships are hinted at but Charlotte and her neighbor, Nash, The Earl of Wrotham, have an attraction that is instant and pretty much overwhelming. The problem is that Charlotte does not want to give up her freedom for marriage and Nash will not make her his mistress. When Charlotte starts to yield in the direction of marriage a secret of Nash’s tears them apart.

This first book in the new series deftly sets up the series to follow. The romance is steamy and the writing is well done. I did not like Charlotte finding her at times silly. Nash was a likable character and I wondered what he saw in Charlotte beyond her beauty. The side characters, future heroines/heroes of the series, were introduced and personalities were established. I found this to be a decent Regency romance and an original concept.

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RWA RITA Award Nominees 2018

Below find the nominees for Historical Romance & Paranormal Romance and a few others.

The RITA, the highest award of distinction in romance fiction, recognizes excellence in published romance novels and novellas. The Golden Heart recognizes excellence in unpublished romance manuscripts.
Go to RWA for a complete list: https://www.rwa.org/p/bl/et/blogid=20&blogaid=2148

Award winners will be announced on July 19 at the 2018 RWA Conference in Denver, Colorado.

Congratulations to the finalists! 
 
2018 RITA Finalists
 

Historical Romance: Long
Between the Devil and the Duke by Kelly Bowen
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Alex Logan, editor

The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean
HarperCollins, Avon Books
Carrie Feron, editor

Mad for the Marquess by Jess Russell
The Wild Rose Press, Tea Rose
Nicole D’Arienzio, editor

The Scandalous Flirt by Olivia Drake
St. Martin’s Press
Jennifer Enderlin, editor

The Scoundrel’s Honor by Christi Caldwell
Amazon, Montlake Publishing
Alison Dasho, editor

Historical Romance: Short
Blame It on the Duke by Lenora Bell
HarperCollins, Avon Books
Carrie Feron, editor

The Demon Duke by Margaret Locke
Self-Published
Tessa Shapcott, editor

The Rogue’s Conquest by Lily Maxton
Entangled Publishing, Scandalous
Alycia Tornetta, editor

The Scandal of It All by Sophie Jordan
HarperCollins, Avon Books
May Chen, editor

A Scottish Lord for Christmas by Lauren Smith
Grand Central Publishing, Forever Yours
Madeleine Colavita, editor
Waltzing with the Earl by Catherine Tinley
Harlequin Mills & Boon, Historical
Julia Williams, editor

Within a Captain’s Soul by Lisa Olech
Kensington Publishing Corp., Lyrical Press
Amanda Siemen, editor

Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance
The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz
Harlequin, Mira
Susan Swinwood, editor

Now that You Mention It by Kristan Higgins
Harlequin, HQN
Susan Swinwood, editor

Shelter the Sea by Heidi Cullinan
Self-Published
Sasha Knight, editor

Unloved, a Love Story by Katy Regnery
Self-Published
Chris Belden and Melissa DeMeo, editors

Paranormal Romance
Bishop by Marie Johnston
Self-Published
Razor Sharp Editing, editor

The Druid Next Door by E. J. Russell
Riptide Publishing
Rachel Haimowitz, editor

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones
St. Martin’s Press
Jennifer Enderlin, editor

Hunt the Darkness by Stephanie Rowe
Self-Published

Song of the Nightpiper by Hannah Meredith
Self-Published
Anna D. Allen, editor

Spectred Isle by K. J. Charles
Self-Published
To Enthrall the Demon Lord by Nadine Mutas
Self-Published
Faith Freewoman, editor

Wanted and Wired by Vivien Jackson
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
Cat Clyne, editor

Romance Novella
“Dancing with the Duke’s Heir” by Bronwyn Scott
in Scandal at the Christmas Ball
Harlequin Mills & Boon, Historical
Nicola Caws, editor

Forbidden River by Brynn Kelly
Harlequin, HQN
Allison Carroll, editor

Her Duke at Daybreak by Wendy LaCapra
Self-Published
The Killion Group, editor

“In His Arms” by Jules Dixon
in Falling: Small Town Love Anthology
Self-Published
Michelle Josett, editor

“The Pursuit Of…” by Courtney Milan
in Hamilton’s Battalion: A Trio of Romances
Self-Published
Lindsey Faber, editor

The Secret of My Seduction by Caroline Linden
Self-Published
Martha Trachtenberg, editor

“Sweet Home Highlands” by May McGoldrick
in Christmas in Kilts: A Highland Holiday Box Set
St. Martin’s Press, Swerve
Eileen Rothschild, editor

Until the Sun Sets by Tara Wyatt
St. Martin’s Press, Swerve
Holly Ingraham, editor
 

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Advance Review- Eight Simple Rules For Dating A Dragon by Kerrelyn Sparks

8 simple rules for dating a dragon

Title: Eight Simple Rules For Dating A Dragon: A Novel of the Embraced ( #3)
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Author: Kerrelyn Sparks
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, March 27, 2018 (preorder available)
Pages: 435
Rating: 4
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating:5
Description from Amazon:

TRUTH—OR DARE?
Gwennore is an Elf able to track down the cause of a certain illness and heal it—a valuable asset to her people. But when she is thrust into the realm of the dragons, she discovers a haunted place of power, passion, and magic—one that is plagued by an ancient curse. When she meets the smoldering General Silas Dravenko, Gwen knows she’s entered a whole new world of trouble. She’s been raised never to trust a dragon. So why does making a deal with the devil feel so good?
Silas has no way of saving the royal family he’s served for years. But when a beautiful, innocent elf comes bursting into his world, Silas is awakened to desire in a way he’s never felt before. But how can he trust a sworn enemy. . .and how can he live without her, in Eigh’s t Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by New York Times bestselling author Kerrelyn Sparks.

**
This was a bit of a slow start for me but once I got about 100 pages in, it took off. Silas was battling with his brother about the curse on the royals and their people. Silas believed it to be poison and his brother believed it to be an ancient curse. Silas enlists Gwennore’s healing ability to prove his theory. Gwen agreed to stay until she solved the mystery but she was falling for Silas and their love was forbidden because she was of enemy elf lineage.

This book reads like a fairytale but a fairytale with some sexy times. It is total escapism since everything is like a fantasy. I liked the light-hearted feel of the book and enjoyed the tension and mystery concerning the curse. Some of the book is too farfetched for even a fantasy, like a Mead and hot pepper drink to cure the plague, but it was still a most fun read. Dragons might just be my next book boyfriends.

 

 

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Advance Review- The Duke Of Ruin by Darcy Burke

The Duke of Ruin

Title: The Duke of Ruin (The Untouchables, book #8)
Genre: Historical Romance/Regency
Author: Darcy Burke
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Darcy Burke Publishing, March 27, 2018 (preorder available)
Pages: ?, e-book
Rating: 4
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 0
Description from Amazon:
With her betrothal to a duke in tatters and scandal imminent, Diana Kingman has two choices: live in certain ignominy or flee into obscurity. Diana wants solitude. She never wished to wed in the first place. However, her father will stop at nothing to betroth her to one of the finest titles in the realm…no matter how loathsome the bearer. Escape is Diana’s only option, and she’ll pay any price to achieve freedom.

Universally blamed for the death of his wife and unborn child, Simon Hastings doesn’t dispute his guilt over an accident he cannot even remember. He hasn’t had a drink since, nor a moment’s peace. Determined to be a better man, Simon rescues a young woman in need—only to be accused of kidnapping. They must marry to save him from prison. But how can a man haunted by the love he lost and a woman afraid to get too close find happiness together?

**
I do wish that the person who writes the description blurb for the book would read it first. Diana’s father is a cruel man who abused her throughout her childhood and into her young adulthood. He most definitely wants her to be betrothed to a “decent” duke and would be appalled at any suggestion she marry a duke who is “loathsome”. Diana needs to escape because she is breaking her betrothal to the Duke of Kilve because he loves another, and her father will be outraged and punish her severely.

Along comes Simon, Duke of Romsey, Kilve’s best friend. Simon is called the Duke of Ruin by society because he is believed to have murdered his wife. He agrees to help Diana runaway to her cousin’s in order for her to figure out her future. He does this because of Kilve’s guilt over the broken betrothal. He is not interested in marrying and he is distraught over his wife’s death, which he can’t remember because he was drunk at the time.

This road-trip trope is entertaining and well written. It is a standalone book although we were introduced to Simon and Diana in Kilve’s book, THE DUKE OF ICE, so it was nice to see them hoping for their own HEA. I can recommend this book to ALL romance readers for a most enjoyable read. You may also want to read the other books in the Untouchable series.

The Untouchables Series:

#1 – The Forbidden Duke
#2 – The Duke of Daring
#3 – The Duke of Deception
#4 – The Duke of Desire
#5 – The Duke of Defiance
#6 – The Duke of Danger
#7 – The Duke of Ice
#8 – The Duke of Ruin
#9 – The Duke of Lies
#10 – Coming soon!

 

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day

st-patricks-day-card

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March 17, 2018 · 1:28 pm

Release Day Review- What a Highlander’s Got To Do by Sabrina York

What A Highlander's Got to Do

Title: What A Highlander’s Got To Do (Untamed Highlanders book #5)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Sabrina York
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Swerve, March 6, 2018
Pages: 243
Rating: 4.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:

Isobel Dounreay Lochlannach is a fierce and independent Scots lass. She has no intention to marry—to submit to a man—especially not an Englishman.
But when she meets a devilish stable lad on the way to London, she can’t help but sneak a kiss with the handsome stranger, sure to never see him again.
Nick Wyeth is not a stable lad. He’s Viscount Stirling, and heir to one of the most powerful dukes in the realm. If their indiscretion is discovered, Isobel will be forced to marry him, to succumb to a fate she has always spurned. Nick wants nothing but to call this wild Scottish lass his own, and is determined to show her how an English Viscount can make her swoon, and be his forever.

**
This book has bonnie lass, Isobel, in lust (or is it love?) with a gorgeous stable hand who is actually an English Viscount, Nick. (Isobel is the hellion, 5 year old from book #2 in this series, Susana and The Scot.) Nick doesn’t get to set her straight until they meet in London for the Season. Nick is in love with Isobel but Isobel has a deep prejudice against Englishmen and especially English Lords. Her attraction to Nick doesn’t wane when she finds out his station but she is determined not to marry him.

If you are looking for dialog that runs the gamut from eloquent to witty to sexy, if you like sexual tension that makes your own heart pound and if you want a darn good plot, this is the book for you. It is a standalone book but characters from previous books in the series do play important roles in this book. Did I mention that there are laugh-out-loud moments as well as some adventure. You can’t go wrong if you like those handsome Highlanders, Scots, English Lords and smart conniving Mamas as well as a feisty heroine. I highly recommend this book as well as this most entertaining series.

Untamed Highlanders Series:
Hannah and The Highlander (Deet’s review Sept. 2015- 4.5 stars)
Susana and The Scot (Deet’s review, January 2016-4.5 stars)
Lana And The Laird (Deet’s review June 2016- 4 stars)
The Highlander is All That (somehow I missed reading this one)
What A Highlander’s Got To Do (today’s review)

(Here comes a cover complaint from Deet: On this cover the woman is wearing makeup that would never be worn in the Regency Era. Please publishers, pay attention to details.)

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Advance Review- As The Devil Dares by Anna Harrington

As The Devil Dares

Title: As The Devil Dares (Capturing The Carlisles book #3)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Anna Harrington
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Forever, March 6, 2018 (preorder available)
Pages: 384
Rating: 4.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:

When playing a game of wits, never ever go up against the woman they call the Hellion . . .LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD…
Whether it’s business or pleasure, Lord Robert Carlisle never backs down from a dare. But finding a husband for scandalous Mariah Winslow? It’s one challenge he instantly regrets accepting. Even with all his connections—and rakish charms—Robert will have to use every trick in the book to marry off a woman with no dowry and no sense of decorum…no matter how stunningly beautiful she is.
Mariah Winslow has no intention of being a pawn in Lord Robert’s game. She knows he agreed to play matchmaker only to secure a partnership in her father’s shipping company, a partnership that’s rightfully hers. For now, though, she’ll dress for the elegant balls he throws and dance with the eligible bachelors he chooses. But she won’t be outwitted by the devil himself—no matter how tempting and irresistible she finds him.
Capturing The Carlisles Series:
If the Duke Demands (Deet’s Review Feb. 2017, 5-stars)
When the Scoundrel Sins (Deet’s Review Aug. 2017, 4-stars)
As the Devil Dares

**
Anna Harrington has pulled me into another fun book in her Capturing The Carlisle Series. This time it is second son, Robert’s turn to be snared in the parson’s mousetrap. Robert has been working diligently the two years since his father’s death to atone for his rakish past and assuage his guilt over his father’s death. Now he has a chance for a partnership in the most prestigious shipping company but only if he uses his connections to marry-off the owner’s daughter.

Mariah’s only desire is to be a partner in her father’s shipping business but Robert Carlisle is standing in her way. He is standing so close that she can’t help but be attracted to him.

In this enemies to lover’s trope the author brings all her skills to give us witty dialog, brilliant characterization and a unique plot. I highly recommend this book and the entire series.

 

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