Category Archives: Romance

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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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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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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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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Recent Release Review- Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

breath-of-fire

Title: Breath of fire (The Kingmaker Chronicles, book /32)

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Author: Amanda Bouchet

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, Jan. 3, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 448

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

SHE’S DESTINED TO DESTROY THE WORLD… BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT

“Cat” Catalia Fisa has been running from her destiny since she could crawl. But now, her newfound loved ones are caught between the shadow of Cat’s tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future. So what’s a warrior queen to do when she knows it’s her fate to be the harbinger of doom? Everything in her power.

Griffin knows Cat is destined to change the world—for the better. As the realms are descending into all-out war, Cat and Griffin risk sacrificing everything they’ve fought for. Gods willing, they will emerge side-by-side in the heart of their future kingdom…or die trying.

The Kingmaker Chronicles: A Promise of Fire (Book 1) Breath of Fire (Book 2) Heart on Fire (Book 3, coming Fall 2017)

****

I could not wrap my mind around the disjointed way this book was written.  It starts off with Griffin trashing his bedroom with Cat there and stalking off.  Then she leaves to heal her broken heart in another room.  He comes back and says she got it all wrong.  I don’t think so. From there we go on one action packed adventure scene to the next full of violence and thrills. But it felt like just scenes linked together.  Certainly scenes that were interesting but really didn’t feel like a cohesive story. I kept setting this book aside because it just wasn’t holding my interest.  It took me forever to finish.

This book got a rating of 3 from me because if you are really into the Greek myths and like Game of Thrones then this book is “okay”.  But for me personally it rated a 2 “disappointing”.

 

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Recent Release Review-House of Silence by Sarah Barthel

house-of-silence

Title: House of Silence

Genre: Historical Fiction/Thriller/Suspense (romantic elements)

Author: Sarah Barthel

Publisher: Kensington, Dec. 27, 2016

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 300

Rating: 2.5

Sexy Rating: 2

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:         

Oak Park, Illinois, 1875. Isabelle Larkin’s future—like that of every young woman—hinges upon her choice of husband. She delights her mother by becoming engaged to Gregory Gallagher, who is charismatic, politically ambitious, and publicly devoted. But Isabelle’s visions of a happy, profitable match come to a halt when she witnesses her fiancé commit a horrific crime—and no one believes her.   Gregory denies all, and Isabelle’s mother insists she marry as planned rather than drag them into scandal. Fearing for her life, Isabelle can think of only one escape: she feigns a mental breakdown that renders her mute, and is brought to Bellevue sanitarium. There she finds a friend in fellow patient Mary Todd Lincoln, committed after her husband’s assassination.   In this unlikely refuge, the women become allies, even as Isabelle maintains a veneer of madness for her own protection. But sooner or later, she must reclaim her voice. And if she uses it to expose the truth, Isabelle risks far more than she could ever imagine.

***

Was this a good read? Well…it was just okay.  I kept reading to find out what would happen.  The plot was interesting.  But it didn’t flow and it left unanswered questions. Why was Gregory living a lie? Why was Isabelle’s mother not willing to give Isabelle the benefit of a doubt, when Isabelle never had told a lie? Another big question was, why is Mary Todd Lincoln in this book at all?  It added nothing to the story.

The book definitely was short on character development.  Side characters, like Isabelle’s friend Lucy, seemed to do things that made no sense.  Such as Lucy’s trip to Montana and back again without even telling her fiancé that she was leaving.  A sanitarium in the late 1800’s would not be a social spa like it is characterized here.  If you read this just for the story then it is just okay but be prepared to find fault with much of the action and characterization.

(This is the kind of book that drives people to say “I think I will write a book.  I can certainly improve on something like this.”)

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7-Fridays ‘Til Christmas Review- A Christmas Kiss by Elizabeth Mansfield

Title: A Christmas Kiss

Genre: Historical Romance/Holiday

Author: Elizabeth Mansfield

Publisher: Open road Media, Oct. 2016, Kindle

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 180

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 1

Violence Rating: 1

Christmasy Feeling: 3

Description from Amazon.com:

After defending her virtue by striking the besotted son of her employer, Miss Evalyn Pennington is discharged from her position under a cloud of scandal. With no place to go and no prospects for the coming year, the impoverished governess accepts an invitation from Jamie Everard, heir to an earldom, to spend the holidays at his family’s estate. But Evalyn has barely settled in at Gyllford Manor when she catches the eye of Philip Everard, the fourth Earl of Gyllford—and Jamie’s father.   After his wife died, Philip vowed to never marry again, despite his sister’s best efforts to reintroduce him to London society. Then, his son brings a guest home for Christmas. Is the lovely, intelligent Evalyn the woman to make his footloose son settle down at last? But why does Jamie treat Evalyn in such a cavalier manner? And what is Philip to do about the reigning beauty of London who has set her cap for him—and is about to set in motion a scheme that will have far-reaching consequences for them all?   A witty and warm tale about morals, mores, marriage, and mistaken intentions, this classic Regency holiday romance introduces a woman who refuses to surrender her ideals, and a man in danger of losing the one thing he swore never again to give: his heart.

**

This book was originally published in 1978.  It has just recently been made available on Kindle.  I enjoyed this short book.  The story was well plotted and the characters were perfectly realized.  It is a story of misinformation and misunderstandings.  Evalyn is a no-nonsense spinster governess and Phillip is an Earl 20 years older than her with a 22year old son.  Phillip has no intention of remarrying and he is somewhat chagrined to find out his son has brought home a lovely woman to wed.  Or has he?  It is the holidays in the country and the family has gathered along with friends and Jamie’s guest Evalyn.  False assumptions are made in this humorous story.

This is the second holiday story I have read by the late Elizabeth Mansfield and there is one more on my TBR (To-Be-Read) pile that I’m excited to get to read.  I have enjoyed this story and once again I am looking forward to reading more romances from the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s. I’m enjoying the fact that so many of these out of print books are being made available on e-readers.

These Sexy Santas keep sneaking in my blog!

sexy-santa

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Recent Release Review- The Legendary Lord by Valerie Bowman

the-legendary-lord

Title: The Legendary Lord (The Playful Brides Series, book #6)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Valerie bowman

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, Nov. 1, 2016)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 318

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

When Christian Forester, Viscount Berkeley, flees the stuffy ballrooms of London for his Scottish hunting lodge, the last thing he expects to find ensconced before his fire is an incredibly beautiful woman. But the plight of lovely young Sarah Highgate, who has run away from an unwanted betrothal, inspires an eminently practical exchange. He’ll safeguard her reputation with the ton while she advises him how to best attract a proper bride…

 

As the undisputed belle of the season, Sarah has enchanted plenty of suitors. Still, she isn’t interested in marriage, especially not to the pompous bore her father has chosen for her. But her hasty escape seems reckless now that she’s estranged from her family and has no one to count on besides Christian. Turning the luckless lord into such a catch has another unplanned consequence for Sarah: Has he run away with her heart?

The Legendary Lord is the sixth installment of Valerie Bowman’s Regency-set Playful Brides series.

**

Christian Forester arrives at his hunting lodge in rough clothes and sporting a beard.  Sarah Highgate has sought shelter from the winter prior to his arrival in the lodge.  After some tense first moments they become sociable and she agrees to tutor him in the ways to become the most sought after bachelor in the London Season.  He agrees to get her back to London, her fiancé and strict parents without a breath of scandal.  They both succeed and then the trouble starts.

Ms. Bowman has given us characters with personality, some flaws and much likability.  There is some angst about their outcome and I turned pages quickly to find out how these two people would be brought together. There are some very sexy scenes and I always question if a sweet sheltered Regency Miss would have been such a willing participant. But since those scenes are expected in Romance novels today, I encourage readers, who do object, to just skip the parts that offend you instead of missing out on superb storytelling.

I have loved every one of the books in the Playful Brides Series.  I confess I did miss book #2 but I still intend to right that wrong.  This is a standalone book but Characters from past books in the series do make appearances and they do make for interesting reading here as well as in their own previous books.  Also side characters here, Meg and Hart, definitely need their story told in a future volume. I usually hope that a series ends about this number of books but in the case of Playful Brides, I never want it to end.  Too much fun is anticipated with each new book.

I encourage you to read Valerie Bowman’s Playful Brides series:

  1. The Unexpected Duchess, Lucy and Derek’s story (Deet’s rating 4-stars)
  2. The Accidental Countess, Cass and Julian’s story
  3. The Unlikely Lady, Jane and Garrett’s story (Deet’s rating 4-stars)
  4. The Irresistible Rogue, Daphne and Rafe’s story (Deet’s rating 4-stars)
  5. The Untamed Earl, Alex and Owen’s story (Deet’s rating 5-stars)

Here are excerpts from my reviews of the books in the series:

What a delight to find an author who is so accomplished at bringing forth stunning characterization and a plot filled with good writing and humorous moments. (The Unexpected Duchess, book#1)

Jane and Garrett are two of the most likeable protagonists in romance. She is a deep intellectual who discovers her passionate side and he is the thoughtful pseudo-rake who suddenly is captivated by a woman he thought he didn’t like. (The Unlikely Lady, book#3)

There is some fast and loose playing with actual Regency Era language and actions of a virgin young lady.  Sometimes this bothers me, but in this book I was laughing too hard to care. (The Irresistible Rogue, book#4)

Are you looking for a feel good book.  This is the one.  Valerie Bowman has given us a wonderfully witty love story of a young woman who knows what she wants and an older man who has to be taught what he wants. (The Untamed Earl, book #5)

 

 

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Review- The Headmaster (Shivers) by Tiffany Reisz

the-headmaster

Title: The Headmaster (Shivers)

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Author: Tiffany Reisz

Publisher: Harlequin Digital, April 2015

Source: Purchase

Pages: 135

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 2

Description from Amazon.com:

A fever dream of desires fulfilled.

Nestled in the shadow of the Appalachians is where Gwen Ashby stumbles upon the William Marshall Academy, and she’s given a trial position as a literature teacher. The gothic boarding school seems trapped in time yet it feels like home the moment Gwen arrives.

She’s charmed by the lovely buildings, bewitched by the eager students…and utterly seduced by the headmaster. Edwin Yorke is noble, handsome and infuriatingly proper. But his tweedy exterior and courtly manners conceal a raw sensual power that Gwen longs to unleash.

It’s strangely thrilling to be the only woman on campus—save one other. An eerie white-clad figure roams the grounds by night. She never speaks. She leaves no trace. But this ghostly blight on Gwen’s new dream life is the key to the Marshall Academy’s mysterious allure.

RITA® Award nominated title from International Bestselling Author Tiffany Reisz.

**

It’s that time of year when there is bubble, bubble toil and trouble.  But it isn’t easy to come across a romance that can give you a few shivers without also being a bit terrifying.  This one is shivers not terrors. I have wanted to read this author and since Harlequin is now having a big $1.99 sale this seemed the perfect time to pick up one of Ms. Reisz’ books.  This is a novella so it is a quick read but I started it late in the evening and was up until the wee hours because I had to finish it.  There are ghosts and mystery and twists and surprises along the way. Truly a delightful read.  The romance is sizzling. Gwen is intelligent and beautiful.  Edwin is a hot and hunky headmaster. The side characters are a delight. I highly recommend this book to all romance lovers and especially to paranormal fans.

 

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Deet’s Glorious Adventure (the Finale)

No events were planned until 1pm so I got to sleep-in. Yeah, right. I was on east coast time the entire week so on this final day I awoke at 5am just like the other days. I was being really lazy in the morning, uploading photos to my computer, reading a bit on my Kindle. At 1pm I made my way to the Grand Pennington Ballroom where the Book Fair and signing was held. Here we have the two Sabrinas, York and Jeffries. At the last table is Karen Hawkens and Lorraine Heath. The bottom photo is fuzzy but I wanted you to see the entire signing room.

booksigning

There was about 3hours between the book signing and the Grand Ball.  I was invited to go to dinner with the fab Victoria Vane and Julie Johnstone and Collette Cameron.

We were so caught up in conversation and laughter that time got away from us and we hurried back to the hotel to get ready for the Grand Ball. The food was Hor D’Oeuvres and Dessert.

But the gowns were the big attraction as well as the beautiful women wearing them. Yes there were a few men attending and dancing. It was a fairytale setting. first u[ our hostess Delilah Marvelle, then our other hostess Renee Bernard, next a view of the back of the gowns. Next (can I ever take a decent photo? Guess not, but wanted to show you.) Victoria Vane and the ladies wearing the gowns she sewed for them. Victoria also made her gown. Then comes Erin Knightly just beautiful! Next we have Elizabeth Essex, Tessa Dare and Victoria Vane (this one taken at an earlier event). Next is terrific blogger Ki Pha. Last and certainly not least Lovely Wendy Loverage,book reviewer, all the way from England.

hrr-delilah-at-ballhrr-renee-at-the-balldelilahs-dressvickis-dresseserin-knightlyhrr-eliz-essex-tessa-victoriaki-phawendy-loverage

The next morning there was a continental breakfast gathering before we all bid our farewells.  Oh, and here is the Dowager Duchess of La Deetda Reads:

hrr-dot-ball

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