Tag Archives: 3.5 stars

Advance Review- The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen by Victoria Alexander

The Lady Travelers Guide

Title: The Lady Travelers Guide To Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

Author: Victoria Alexander

Source: free for review from the publisher

Publisher: HQN books, June 1, 2017(preorder available)

Pages: 544

Rating: 3.5

Sexy rating: 5

Violence rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

Really, it’s too much to expect any normal man to behave like a staid accountant in order to inherit the fortune he deserves to support the lifestyle of an earl. So when Derek Saunders’s favorite elderly aunt and her ill-conceived—and possibly fraudulent—Lady Travelers Society loses one of their members, what’s a man to do but step up to the challenge? Now he’s escorting the world’s most maddening woman to the world’s most romantic city to find her missing relative.

While India Prendergast only suspects his organization defrauds gullible travelers, she’s certain a man with as scandalous a reputation as Derek Saunders cannot be trusted any farther than the distance around his very broad shoulders. As she struggles not to be distracted by his wicked smile and the allure of Paris, instead of finding a lost lady traveler, India just may lose her head, her luggage and her heart.

***

We do eventually find the lost Aunt Heloise and that is what kept me finishing the book.  India had a most annoying personality and Derek kept me wondering why he was becoming enamored of this impossible woman.

This is a long book that I kept putting down and picking up again after reading something else. It seemed to just drag for me. Since I was not fond of either the H or the h, I just didn’t care all that much.  Can the author write a pretty phrase? Well of course she can! But that wasn’t enough to keep me interested in the story. This could have been a really good book if only it was shorter, and the protagonists were more likeable.

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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- Hero In The Highlands by Suzanne Enoch

hero-in-the-highlands

Title: Hero In The Highlands (A No Ordinary Hero Novel, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Suzanne Enoch

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, October 4, 2016

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 384

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

WILD AT HEART Scotland, 1812: He’s ferocious and rugged to the bone, an English soldier more at home on the battlefield than in any Society drawing room. And when Major Gabriel Forrester learns that he’s inherited the massive Scottish Highlands title and estate of a distant relation, the last thing he wants to do is give up the intensity of the battlefield for the too-soft indulgences of noble life. But Gabriel Forrester does not shirk his responsibilities, and when he meets striking, raven-eyed lass Fiona Blackstock, his new circumstances abruptly become more intriguing. Like any good Highlander, Fiona despises the English—and the new Duke of Lattimer is no exception. Firstly, he is far too attractive for Fiona’s peace of mind. Secondly, his right to “her” castle is a travesty, since it’s been clan Maxwell property for ages. As the two enter a heated battle of wills, an unexpected passion blazes into a love as fierce as the Highlands themselves. Is Fiona strong enough to resist her enemy’s advances—or is Gabriel actually her hero in disguise?

**

I struggled to get through this book. Usually I love this authors books, but this one was difficult.  I kept setting it aside.  The problem for me was the heroine.  She was cantankerous, grouchy and altogether not very nice to the hero.  The hero, Gabriel, was at first in lust with Fiona; that I could understand.  Then he was in love with her and I couldn’t figure out why. She was totally not likable, she lied to him on many occasions and made him feel unwelcome. That is not the recipe for romance.  The side characters were often humorous and well fleshed out. The story was a good one. I do think those who like Scottish romances will like this book. Also those who can set aside some dislike of the heroine.

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Audio Review- Bargaining With A Rake by Julie Johnstone

Title: Bargaining with A Rake

Bargaining with a Rake

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Julie Johnstone, Audible narration- Tristan Hunt

Publisher: Night shift Publishing, Nov. 2012

Source: Purchase Kindle $.99, Audible $1.99

Pages: 292

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 2

Description from Amazon.com:

For eleven years, Gillian Rutherford has dreamed of escaping her family’s dark secret and living a normal life. Now, faced with an unwelcome marriage that will chain her to London and the secret slowly killing her, she’s desperate to save herself and the sister she adores. Salvation comes in the form of an American shipping tycoon, and all she must do is seduce him into marrying her. But Gillian’s scheme hits a snag when she makes a bargain with a notorious rake Alexander Trevelle, Lord Lionhurst. He’ll help her win the hand of his American friend, if she’ll assist him with exacting revenge against her unwanted fiancé. But the price of the pact may just be their hearts.

**

This was a good book with characters that were a bit annoying.  I enjoyed it but Gillian’s reluctance to follow her heart to protect her sister was grating on me.  Alex’s refusal to see what was in front of him was also irritating. That the Tycoon would even think to propose was unbelievable since he hardly had anything to do with Gillian but spent most of his time with Gillian’s sister. Still, it was a cute story.

Tristan Hunt, the narrator on the Audible recording, was excellent in rendering the voices of the various characters. I truly enjoyed his baritone delivery. I will look for more books with him as a narrator.

I will also look for more books by Julie Johnstone, this being book one in the series.

Julie Johnstone and Tristan Hunt

 

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Recent Release Review-A Reckless Desire by Isabella Bradford

Title: A Reckless Desire (The Breconridge Brothers, book #3)

A Reckless Desire

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Isabella Bradford

Publisher: Ballantine, March 2016

Pages: 386

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Lord Rivers Fitzroy is as charming and sought-after as his rakish elder brothers, though he immerses himself more in dusty books and scholarly pursuits than in bawdy houses. Yet, Hell-bent on making the most of his remaining bachelorhood now that his father insists he marry, Rivers becomes the favorite of a troupe of Italian dancers. One night, after a performance, the handsome lord is challenged with a most provocative wager: Turn the players’ meek and mousy cousin into the first lady of the London stage.   But Lucia di Rossi is not what she seems. Scorned by the rest of her family, Lucia longs for the respect and stardom of a great actress. Rivers’ wager could be the answer to all her hopes—so long as he understands that she wants to be an actress, not his mistress. The two commence her metamorphosis in earnest—even as passion begins to take center stage. As Lucia’s dreams come true, she fears that it may be Rivers, not she, who is the master performer. Is he only making her believe he cares? Has she found the spotlight only to lose her heart—or will the final curtain reveal a love strong enough to last?

**

This is a retelling of the Pygmalion story or if you are not familiar with that, “My Fair Lady”.  It follows so closely to that story line that I almost started to sing “The rain In Spain, stays mainly in the plain”.  Lucia is a woman who is scorned by her family for not living up to the family expertise in ballet.  She becomes a servant drudge to them…wait perhaps this is “Cinderella”.  Lord Fitzroy makes a wager with his friend that he could take the cockney out of the girl and make her an actress of renown on the London stage.  Rivers then scoots her away to the country in his carriage where she enthralls him with a made up story…shades of “Scheherazade”.  Once in the country they start to fall in love but he is an aristocrat and she a lowly actress.  How they find their way to a HEA is the meat of the story.

Being overly familiar with this story line put a bit of a damper on it for me.  But that’s just me.  The writing is well done by Ms. Bradford and the romance is slow blooming.  Lucia was a woman to be reckoned with and Rivers was her hero.

I received this book free for review from the publisher.

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Recent Release Review- A Gentleman’s Game by Theresa Romain

Title:  A Gentleman’s Game (Romance of The Turf book #1)

A Gentleman's game

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Theresa Romain

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, Feb 2 2016

Pages: 352

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

How far will a man go Talented but troubled, the Chandler family seems cursed by bad luck-and so Nathaniel Chandler has learned to trade on his charm. He can broker a deal with anyone from a turf-mad English noble to an Irish horse breeder. But Nathaniel’s skills are tested when his stable of trained Thoroughbreds become suspiciously ill just before the Epsom Derby, and he begins to suspect his father’s new secretary is not as innocent as she seems.

To win a woman’s secretive heart? Nathaniel would be very surprised if he knew why Rosalind Agate was really helping his family in their quest for a Derby victory. But for the sake of both their livelihoods, Rosalind and Nathaniel must set aside their suspicions. As Derby Day draws near, her wit and his charm make for a successful investigative team…and light the fires of growing desire. But Rosalind’s life is built on secrets and Nathaniel’s on charisma, and neither defense will serve them once they lose their hearts…

**

I am a fan of Theresa Romain’s books.  She has a way of bringing to life her setting and her characters and once again that was well done here.  This book was refreshing in that we were treated to the lower working classes, gentry and minor aristocrats instead of Dukes and Debs.  The care and dangers of raising horses for racing I found very interesting.  What I did not enjoy was the extremely slow pace of the book and I never really felt the romantic connection of Rosalind and Nathaniel. The mystery was intriguing and the plot unique.

 

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Advance Review- The Bite of Winter by Lauren smith

Title:  The Bite of Winter ( Love Bites, book #1)

The Bite of Winter

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Erotic Novella

Author: Lauren Smith

Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Nov. 24, 2015(preorder available)

Pages: 113

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5+

Christmasy Feeling: 3

Description from Amazon.com:

She is theirs to claim. They are hers to save.

Love Bites, Book 1

Zoey Blake is about as far down on her luck as she can get. A car crash took her parents, leaving her destitute and on the street. When she’s attacked by another homeless person, her lifeblood drains away as her fading vision is filled with the face of a handsome stranger.

Ian Kennedy, a century old Irish vampire, never could resist rescuing a stray. As a few drops of his blood heals Zoey’s wounds, he realizes she’s a sweet, tempting, flesh-and-blood woman. But there’s one problem. Connor, who made Ian promise decades ago: no more mortal lovers.

After another vampire murdered his soulmate, Connor O’Shea swore never to let a mortal woman pay the price for loving him. Until he feels Zoey’s skin and tastes her lips. She makes him want to break that vow.

Zoey finds herself caught in their web of seduction. But as Christmas draws near and her grief deepens, happiness seems far out of reach. And Ian and Connor join forces to prove their love is sacred, special…and forever.

Warning: This book contains two scorching-hot Irish vampires, one lady with plenty of pluck but zero luck, naughty lingerie, and enough Christmas cheer to redeem even the darkest creatures.

**

This novella is the first book in a new vampire series by Lauren Smith.  There is little romance and a plethora of lust.  Zoey really has nothing to lose by hooking up with two gorgeous vampires since it will either redeem her pitiful life or end it.  The two vampires, Connor and Ian, are handsome, hunky, good guys who just happen to live off the blood of humans.  It is a win/win for all three protagonists.  I was not put off by this book but I found the instant attractions unsatisfying.  The Christmas feeling is minimal.  I can recommend this book to those who are fans of gorgeous, sexy vampires and want a quick read.  Don’t expect a Kick A&& heroine.

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Recent Release Review- (anthology) An Amish Christmas Gift by A. Clipston, R. Reid and K. Irvin

Title:  An Amish Christmas Gift

An Amish Christmas gift

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Author: Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid and Kelly Irvin

Publisher: Thomas Nelson, Oct. 6, 2015

Pages: 401

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 0

Christmasy Feeling: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Naomi’s Gift by Amy Clipston

Naomi has begun to believe that she isn’t meant to find love, but she might receive more than she has ever hoped for this Christmas.

Twenty-four-year-old Naomi King has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches, Naomi is certain that her life will be spent as an old maid, helping with the family’s quilting business and taking care of her eight siblings. Then she meets Caleb, a young widower with a 7-year-old daughter, and her world is once again turned upside-down.

**

This opening story was very predictable. Even when there was a crisis I didn’t for a moment feel anxiety for the protagonist. Caleb’s daughter, Susan, was so over the top manic most of the time that if this wasn’t an Amish story I would think the girl was getting into the family liquor cabinet. The dialog was rather stilted and the writing not very professional. Have you guessed that I was not happy with this novella? This is my first “Amish Romance” and I was hoping for so much more. Perhaps in the other novellas in this book?

Deet’s rating:2 Sexy Rating: 0 (it’s an Amish story)

An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid

Abigail has driven other suitors away, but can Micah find a way to show her he cares?

Being a caregiver for Micah Zook’s grandmother is the answer to Abigail’s prayers. In fact, the elderly lady keeps finding ways to set Abigail up with her grandson. Despite Abigail’s constant chatter, Micah realizes he’s beginning to care for her—until he makes a decision that leaves her feeling betrayed. With Christmas in their midst, can Micah find a way to reconcile with Abigail and to reveal the true feelings of his heart?

**

This novella was more to my liking.  The characters were well drawn.  Abigail was talkative to the point of being annoying but she truly had a warm, generous heart.  Micah had reasons to be stressed and annoyed with Abigail but he too had a kind generous nature.  This was a very sweet love story as well as a lesson in Christmas good will.  Deet’s Rating: 4, Sexy Rating:0

A Christmas Visitor by Kelly Irvin

Frannie Mast returns to Bee County for Christmas, but her heart stays back in Missouri with an Englisch farm boy.

Frannie knows her parents have the best of intentions when they send her back to Bee County, Texas, to live with her aunt and her aunt’s new husband Mordecai. After all, Frannie knows nothing can come of a relationship with Rocky, the handsome Englisch farm boy back in Missouri. But all bets are off when Rocky follows Frannie to Texas to plead his case. Could he be the Christmas gift to end all gifts?

**

Again a well written story with a look at a different problem that might arise in the Amish Community.  I had to admire Rocky’s persistence and dedication to winning Frannie.  Deet’s Rating: 4, Sexy Rating:0

Deet’s overall impression:
This is my first foray into this genre of the Amish Romance for that reason it is hard for me to say if these stories are typical of the genre.  As in all genres there are good writers and those who don’t speak to the reader.  In this book I found both.  All the stories were very predictable and each practically beat the reader over the head with the moral of the story. For those reasons I never offered more than a rating of “4”.  I’m not saying I will never read this genre again but I am saying I will definitely do a bit more research before I give it another try.

 

 

 

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Advance Review- Miss Radley’s Third Dare by Heather Boyd

Title: Miss Radley’s Third Dare (Miss Mayhem, book #3)

Miss Radley's Third Dare

Genre: Historical Romance Novella

Author: Heather Boyd

Publisher: LLD Press, Aug. 4, 2015 for Kindle, preorder available

Pages: 123

Source: Free for review from the author

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

What a woman wants… The only person who ever understood what Julia Radley wanted most in life was the man who ruined her reputation and secured her victory in a bold swimming race. She does not hold Valentine Merton accountable for the harsh criticisms made against her character until he suggests the only way to smooth over the scandal of his defeat is to wed as soon as possible. … the gentleman must dare. After picking himself up after proposing, Valentine Merton is even more determined to tame the wild girl next door. The future he wants within the clockmaker’s guild depends on their speedy marriage. A few sweet words or, as a last resort, another brazen dare is sure to persuade her to take a chance on him… and his family. A sizzling regency historical romance. ~ * ~ Miss Radley’s Third Dare is the third novella in the Miss Mayhem Series. Other titles are: Book 1: Miss Watson’s First Scandal Book 2: Miss George’s Second Chance Book 3: Miss Radley’s Third Dare Book 4: Miss Merton’s Last Hope

*******************

This is a well written novella but I have not read the first two books in this series and I was a bit lost with the side characters. I know that if I had read Miss Watson’s and Miss George’s story I would not have been as confused and I would have enjoyed Julia and Valentine’s story even more. Julia is a tomboy and is out to prove that she can do whatever a man can do. Valentine rather likes her feisty behavior even though society is considering her scandalous. But since Valentine contributed to one of her scandalous behaviors he is also in trouble. Ms. Boyd brings these two characters to life with heated encounters and sizzling chemistry.

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2 Thursdays ‘Til Christmas Review- Merry Christmas, Baby by Jill Shalvis

Title: Merry Christmas, Baby: A Lucky Harbor Short Story

Merry Christmas Baby

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Holiday

Author: Jill Shalvis

Publisher: Forever Yours, Dec. 2014

Source: free for review from the publisher

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Christmasy Feeling: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

SEASON’S KISSES . . . Wild child Chloe Thompson can’t believe how much things have changed. She still can’t get enough of her sexy husband Sawyer, but he seems to prefer working to impending fatherhood. So tonight, a very pregnant Chloe is escaping her troubles at the town Christmas party. Sheriff Sawyer Thompson hopes surprising Chloe at the party will give him a chance to set things right. But as the snow begins to fall and the wind rages, he wonders whether he can make it back in time. While mother nature conspires to keep Sawyer and Chloe apart, an unexpected arrival will require them to kiss and make up . . . and ring in the happiest holiday Lucky Harbor has ever seen.

**

This story will especially appeal to those who remember being in love and having your first child. Chloe is 8 months pregnant and she is having ups and downs from hormone retribution. Sawyer is trying to work extra jobs to build a room onto their house for the baby. They have been married 5 years and this baby is a total surprise. This is a story that will ring true to anyone who has been pregnant. Jill Shalvis has spun a tale that rings of reality so we can assume that Ms Shalvis has been there/done that.

This is a short story of 65 pages, during the holiday hustle and bustle it only takes an hour to escape with this heartwarming, humorous, sometimes sexy story. There is a good dose of Christmasy feeling thrown in for good measure.

sexy_santa_4-257x400

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