Category Archives: Book review

Rereading The Bridgertons- An Offer From A Gentleman by Julia Quinn

An Offer from A Gentleman

Title: An Offfer From A Gentleman With 2nd Epilogue (The Bridgerton Series book #3)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Julia Quinn

Publisher: Avon, 2015

Source: Purchase for Kindle

Pages: 421

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:         

Sophie Beckett never dreamed she’d be able to sneak into Lady Bridgerton’s famed masquerade ball—or that “Prince Charming” would be waiting there for her! Though the daughter of an earl, Sophie has been relegated to the role of servant by her disdainful stepmother. But now, spinning in the strong arms of the debonair and devastatingly handsome Benedict Bridgerton, she feels like royalty. Alas, she knows all enchantments must end when the clock strikes midnight.

Who was that extraordinary woman? Ever since that magical night, a radiant vision in silver has blinded Benedict to the attractions of any other—except, perhaps, this alluring and oddly familiar beauty dressed in housemaid’s garb whom he feels compelled to rescue from a most disagreeable situation. He has sworn to find and wed his mystery miss, but this breathtaking maid makes him weak with wanting her. Yet, if he offers her his heart, will Benedict sacrifice his only chance for a fairy tale love?

***

This is most definitely a reworking of “Cinderella”.  The beginning is so much like the fairytale that I was tempted not to go on.  But I did, and I’m so happy that I did continue reading.  I should never have doubted that the skills of Julia Quinn would transform this fairytale and make it lots more fun.  Benedict is a perfect Prince Charming even if he has a singularly one tract mind when it comes to Sophie.  Sophie is the voice of reason throughout the relationship but she is also in love and when one loves a Bridgerton it is impossible to not follow.  We have here a truly wicked step-mother, some not very nice stepsisters (except for Posy), a very wise Violet Bridgerton, the Dowager Viscountess and Once again the gossip columnist Lady Whistledown who happily reports all ton gossip but especially about the Bridgertons.  We are left to guess who is behind the Lady W. persona but some strong hints come along in this book.

(I have titled this post “Rereading The Bridgertons” but I confess that this is my first reading of this one in the series. I purchased this book in 2015 but never got around to reading it, my loss.  But I’m happy to have finally read this delight of a story.  The second epilogue was a fun read, we finally find out what becomes of Posy Reiling.)

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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Romantic Suspense Review-King’s Captive by Amber Bardan

kings-captive

Title: King’s Captive

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense

Author: Amber Bardan

Publisher: Carina Press, Feb. 2017

Source: Purchase, Kindle $3.99

Pages: 252

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

For three years, I’ve belonged to Julius King. Some people would think being stuck on a private island is heaven, but this is my hell.   Because I’m not here as a guest. Not even close. I’m a prisoner. I’m his. Julius King. Powerful. Wealthy. Dangerous. There are parts of me he wants that I can’t give him. When he looks at me, there are times I swear he sees someone else. And the scary part is that sometimes, when he touches me, I think he may be someone else, too. Though my body might be tempted, and he might control everything else, I can’t let him have any piece of my heart. I won’t. But every day, the fight gets harder, and Julius manages to slip past my defenses in the most unexpected ways.  I have to find out the truth about Julius King. Even if it destroys me.  

***

Wow! Hang on to your hat for a wild ride.  At the start this book seems to be a fairly adequate description of Stockholm Syndrome.  But that’s only the start.  We readers are privy to Sarah’s view of events and we learn along the way of Julius’ version which doesn’t always match. There are twists and surprises that I absolutely, positively guarantee will keep you from putting the book down. The sex is sizzling. Truly a very good read by an author who is new to me. I look forward to more adventures in her books.

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Review- My Fair Duchess by Julie Johnstone

my-fair-duchess

Title: My Fair Duchess (Once Upon A Rogue, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Julie Johnstone

Publisher: Night Shift, 2014

Source: Purchase (free on Kindle) Audio available, Tim Campbell narrator

Pages: 265

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:         

After years of playing the rogue to hide a dark family secret, the Duke of Aversley feels tainted beyond redemption and cynical beyond repair. Never does he imagine hope will come in the form of a quirky, quick-witted lady determined to win the heart of another aristocrat. Thanks to a painfully awkward past, Lady Amelia De Vere long ago relinquished the notion she was a flower that had yet to blossom. But when her family faces financial ruin and the man she has always loved is on the verge of marrying another, she’ll try anything to transform herself to capture her childhood love and save her family―including agreeing to participate in a bet between her brother and the notorious, dangerously handsome Duke of Aversley. Bound by the bet, Amelia and Aversley discover unexpected understanding and passion beyond their wildest dreams, if only they can let go of their pride, put trust in each other and chance losing their hearts.

***

A really good read packed with drama and some violence.  I’m warning up front that there is an attempted rape scene.  The romance is slow to develop and feels very natural that Amelia and Colin should fall in love.  The bet seems a bit convoluted and I had to read about it several times to fully grasp what it was about but this could have just been me.  That Amelia’s brother Robert was so prideful was really disappointing and once again in a HR novel I’m wishing that these characters would just be upfront and honest with each other, especially Amelia’s mother.  Now the Duke of Scarsdale was certainly an interesting character and I see that he gets the girl in book #2 of this series. Although I did want to shake a few characters out of their misguided actions, I truly enjoyed this book.

( I also listened to the Audio Book of this title and Tim Campbell does an excellent job of giving each character their own voice.  He is such a terrific narrator that it upsets me when he is disparaged by other reviewers because he occasionally gets a word mispronounced in the British accent. (He is an American actor and as far as this American is concerned he rates an A+ and his accent is perfectly okay for me.)

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Rereading The Bridgertons book #2 Review- The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn

 

the-viscount-who-loved-me

Title: The Viscouint Who Loved Me (The Bridgerton Series, book #2)

Genre: Historical romance/Regency

Author: Julia Quinn

Publisher: Avon, 2000

Source: My Keeper Shelf

Pages: 352

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

My review from 2011 (it would still be the same today):

( last week I mentioned in my review of book#1 in this series, THE DUKE AND I, that I thought Anthony, Viscount Bridgerton, was a bit overbearing and actually quite stuffy.  Well he is certainly redeemed in this book where he becomes a truly wonderful Hero.)

For me, there is no romance more delicious than the kind where the H/h are truly disliking each other and then fall in love.  It is wonderful to see them transform from antagonists to lovers and Julia Quinn has written the perfect story in this theme with her delightful THE VISCOUNT WHO LOVED ME.

Kate Sheffield is the older, plainer of two sisters at their first London Season.  It is imperative that the sisters find marriage partners who are, if not wealthy then at least well off since they cannot afford to come to London for another season.  Edwina the younger sister is considered the beauty and most likely to attract a proposal.  Because of this Kate is devoting her attention to her sister’s cause and screening likely suitors.

Anthony, Viscount Bridgerton, has a reputation as a rogue and a rake of the first order.  He is the head of a large family that relies on him for their protection and wealth.  He is 29 and he feels it is his duty to marry and produce an heir and this is the Season he intends to do just that.  Edwina Sheffield seems to be the ideal candidate.  For him it will be a marriage of convenience and certainly not love.

The fun of this book starts with Kate’s determined attempts to thwart Bridgerton’s pursuit of her sister since she does not want Edwina marrying a man with his reputation. They are like cats and dogs and of course they are both strongly attracted to the other but refuse to acknowledge the attraction.

There is humor and pathos in this book which makes for a totally satisfying read.  This book was rated by readers of www.likesbooks.com as # 9 out of 100 (2013)all-time top romance novels in print.  It is truly deserving of the distinction.

(This book is now available for purchase with a second Epilogue that was not in my keeper-shelf book)

The Bridgerton Series ( H or h)

1.The Duke and I (Daphne) reviewed on Monday July 25,2011 & Wed., March 1, 2017

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

 

 

 

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Recent Release Review-A Lady’s Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran

a-ladys-code-of-misconduct

Title: A Lady’s Code of Misconduct (Rules For The Reckless, book#5)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Meredith Duran

Publisher: Pocket Books, Feb 28, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 400

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:         

A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL… Trapped in the countryside, facing an unwanted marriage and the theft of her fortune, Jane Mason is done behaving nicely. To win her freedom, she’ll strike a deal with the most dangerous man she knows—a rising star in politics, whose dark good looks mask an even darker heart. …NEVER GOES TO PLAN. The bitter past has taught Crispin Burke to trust no one. He’ll gladly help a lovely young heiress, provided she pays a price. Yet when a single mistake shatters his life, it is Jane who holds the key to his salvation. And in a world that no longer makes sense, Crispin slowly realizes that she may be the only thing worth fighting for…

***

That description really doesn’t give you an idea about this book, and I’m not about to take away from you any of the delight in finding out.  This is a most unique plot, there is amnesia, bribery, greed and sensual delights.  Our heroine, Jane, is an orphan in the care of her greedy, overbearing uncle. She strikes a bargain with a villain, Crispin, and from there uses her wits to outwit those after her fortune. Of course there are twists and turns ahead.  We long for some hero redemption and heroine comfort.  What we are given is a page turning, can’t-put-it-down story of action and love. The backdrop of political machinations gives this plot a timely appeal.

This book is number five in the series but don’t let that deter you.  You can read this as a standalone without any problems.  But it will make you want to read more from this wonderful author.

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Rereading The Bridgertons, Review- The Duke and I (book #1) by Julia Quinn

the-duke-and-i

 

I have just re-read this the first book in Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton  series.  I intend to reread each and post each review as I go through the series. Most of this review is from my original posting back in July, 2011.  The book currently available has a second Epilogue added that I didn’t have in my edition.

 

Title: The Duke and I (The Bridgerton Series, book#1)

 

Genre: Historical Romance Regency

 

Author: Julia Quinn

 

Publisher: Harper Collins, 2000

 

Source: My keeper shelf (available at all booksellers)

 

Pages: 367

 

Rating: 4.5

 

Sexy Rating: 5

 

Violence Rating: 4

 

Description from Amazon.com:         

 

Description: Simon Basset, the irresistible Duke of Hastings, has hatched a plan to keep himself free from the town’s marriage-minded society mothers. He pretends to be engaged to the lovely Daphne Bridgerton. After all, it isn’t as if the brooding rogue has any real plans to marry – though there is something about the alluring Miss Bridgerton that sets Simon’s heart beating a bit faster. And as for Daphne, surely the clever debutante will attract some very worthy suitors now that it seems a duke has declared her desirable. But as Daphne waltzes across ballroom after ballroom with Simon, she soon forgets that their courtship is a complete sham. And now she has to do the impossible and keep herself from losing her heart and soul completely to the handsome hell-raiser who has sworn off marriage forever!

 

**

 

I have been all over reading this series out of order.  It doesn’t really spoil the books but I think reading them in order is more desireable. 

 

Let me get this out of the way; I am in love with the Bridgerton Series.  There, now you know so that is why I am totally biased about each of the books.  Every time I read one I think “Oh, this is the best one.” And then I read another and think the same thing again.

 

This first in the series sets the tone for all the ones to follow (see the list below).  Daphne is not a raving beauty, although certainly not unattractive, so all her potential suitors look on her as a pal and not a sweetheart.  Simon the Duke has had a traumatic childhood and has no desire to marry and continue the lineage.  In their attempt to “help” each other they fall in love but not without problems to overcome.

 

Update added 2/28/2017: Anthony Bridgerton is introduced in this book.  He will get his romance in the next book in the series.  He is Daphne’s oldest brother and the current Viscount.  In this book he is bit overbearing so I’m hoping when I read the next book he will be redeemed.  (Yes, although I’ve read that book once before, I can’t recall it. So it will be like a new read for me.)

 

Quinn is a master of dialog, scene setting, romance and plot. You’ve got nothin’ to lose, go for it.

 

(And possibly like me the book will end up on your keeper shelf begging for a reread or perhaps it already is gathering dust on a shelf, if so, haul it down for a terrific romance re-experience.)

 

Bridgerton Series:

 

  1. The Duke and I (Daphne and Simon)
  2. The Viscount Who Loved Me
  3. An Offer From a Gentleman
  4. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
  5. To Sir Phillip, With Love
  6. When he was Wicked
  7. It’s in His Kiss
  8. On The Way to the Wedding

 

 

 

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

the-merchants-pearl

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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