Tag Archives: 4.5 stars

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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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- 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- any time Any Place by Jennifer Probst

any-time-any-place

Title: Any Time, Any Place (The Billionaire Builders, book #2)

Genre: Contemporary Romance        

Author: Jennifer Probst

Publisher: Gallery Books, Jan. 24, 2017 (preorder available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 400

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

When she was a teen, Raven Bella Stratton’s father was killed in a horrible car crash. The bigger shock was the discovery of a woman with him—Diana Pierce—and their two fully packed suitcases with airline tickets to Paris. Devastated by her father’s betrayal, Raven went to live with her aunt, never truly overcoming the traumatic event. When she discovers that the mysterious woman had a family with a husband and three boys, Raven vows to leave the memory of her father behind. Until Dalton Pierce visits one night and suddenly her past challenges her future…

Leaving his life in California behind to run Pierce Construction with his two older brothers, Dalton Pierce has enjoyed returning home and studying his passion of woodworking. But when he visits the local bar with his brothers one evening, he’s immediately drawn to the smart-mouthed, badass, sexy bartender who sets his body on fire. Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem as intrigued by him, and his multiple advances are met with rejection. When he offers to restore the bar back to its original glory, he begins to work with her on a daily basis, and falls harder. His plan of seduction slowly weaves a web around them both, until they are caught up in the spell. But Dalton doesn’t know the secret that can either destroy them both…or finally mend two broken hearts.

***

This is the book for all of us sexy, banter lovers. The sexual tension just sizzles as Raven and Dalton flirt and lust for each other.  This second book in the Billionaire Builders series is about the youngest, Pierce Construction brother Dalton and Raven the local owner of “My Place” bar and restaurant. Together they have off the chart chemistry which Dalton wants to pursue and which Raven has all kinds of reasons to avoid not the least of which is the fact that Dalton’s mother and Raven’s father died running away together ten years prior. But it seems Dalton is unaware of their connection and Raven can’t bring herself to tell him.

This is a yummy, page turning, super sizzling read. Dalton is absolutely a wonderful hero. Raven and Dalton have so much in common that we really pull for their happily-ever-after.  My only negative is that the description of Raven’s looks was more like a description of Disney’s Malevolent, hardly flattering, at least in my opinion.

“…Her eyes slanted up at the sides like a cat’s; they were the color of soot with a tinge of smoke grey around the rims.  Her face was long and lean, with a sharp chin and nose and heavy brows.  Her lower lip plumped out; her upper one was defined.  She was wicked tall, with small breasts, long arms and legs, and narrow hips…”

This is a standalone read with side characters that were presented in the first book of this series. It is not necessary to have read that book to enjoy this one.

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Review- My American Duchess by Eloisa James

my-american-duchess

Title: My American Duchess

Genre: Historical romance/Regency

Author: Eloisa James

Publisher: Avon, Jan. 2016

Source: Purchase

Pages: 436

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

The arrogant Duke of Trent intends to marry a well-bred Englishwoman. The last woman he would ever consider marrying is the adventuresome Merry Pelford— an American heiress who has infamously jilted two fiancés.

But after one provocative encounter with the captivating Merry, Trent desires her more than any woman he has ever met. He is determined to have her as his wife, no matter what it takes. And Trent is a man who always gets what he wants.

The problem is, Merry is already betrothed, and the former runaway bride has vowed to make it all the way to the altar. As honor clashes with irresistible passion, Trent realizes the stakes are higher than anyone could have imagined. In his battle to save Merry and win her heart, one thing becomes clear:

All is fair in love and war.

***

Merry Pelford is engaged to Cedric but meets his twin brother, the Duke of Trent, and strikes up a conversation with neither knowing who the other actually is. But Trent decides right then that this is the woman he wants for his duchess.  Then they are formally introduced and it is clear to Trent that Merry would really be good for his brother if only he, Trent could set aside his feelings.

This is a really delightful story of an American trying to fit into a role that she feels unequipped to handle and two men who have always competed with each other.  There are humorous moments and also times when everything seems to go wrong. I’m giving this book 4.5 stars because I vacillated between 4 or 5.  It is certainly a page turner that brings a smile.  The main characters are well drawn and the side characters add a bit of sparkle.  The book is too long. That is my opinion.  It could have packed the same punch with a good 40 pages taken out. But I still highly recommend it as a terrific read.

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Advance Review- The Trouble With Dukes by Grace Burrowes

the-trouble-with-dukes

Title: The Trouble With Dukes(Windham Brides, book#1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Grace Burrowes

Publisher: Forever, Dec. 20, 2016(preorder available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: ?

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 2

Description from Amazon.com:         

THEY CALL HIM THE DUKE OF MURDER…The gossips whisper that the new Duke of Murdoch is a brute, a murderer, and even worse–a Scot. They say he should never be trusted alone with a woman. But Megan Windham sees in Hamish something different, someone different.

No one was fiercer at war than Hamish MacHugh, though now the soldier faces a whole new battlefield: a London Season. To make his sisters happy, he’ll take on any challenge–even letting their friend Miss Windham teach him to waltz. Megan isn’t the least bit intimidated by his dark reputation, but Hamish senses that she’s fighting battles of her own. For her, he’ll become the warrior once more, and for her, he might just lose his heart.

**

Ah, those Scottish warriors fresh home from the wars, rugged, unmannered and totally…well…you know.  Then there is Megan not enjoying being pursued by the less than honorable Sir Fletcher, a man she loathes but her parents seem to think is suitable. When Megan meets Hamish, The Duke of Murdoch, they have an immediate rapport, she is fascinated by the man who society whispers is a violent murderer. He is enamored of the woman who seems not to mind his reputation and needs his assistance to remove Sir Fletcher from the picture.

 Once again Grace Burrowes gives us a lovely romance with a hero who is troubled by his military service and a feisty woman who is determined to save him from himself.  This is a trope not unlike others Ms. Burrowes has written but each time we are made more aware of her grasp of the Napoleonic Wars and the aftermath.  We are treated here to that terrific Windham family that hooked us on Grace Burrowes romances starting with THE HEIR.  Now she starts a series with female cousins to the Windham siblings.  Those handsome, honorable Windham lords still play a role in the lives of the Windham brides. We are given Windham family Trees at the beginning of the book so we don’t ever get lost in the relationships.

 I highly recommend this book. You can’t go wrong for a wickedly witty, lusciously romantic book with a loathsome lord thrown in to muddy the romance.  

 

 

 

 

 

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Review-Faithful by Alice Hoffman

faithful

Title: Faithful

Genre: Literary Fiction

Author: Alice Hoffnman

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Nov. 1, 2016

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 272

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5 (not explicit)

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt. What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

**

The book blurb pretty much says it all. This a story of the journey from the depths of despair to the realization of dreams and happiness. Shelby is nearly totally destroyed by the accident that left her best friend in a vegetative coma.  She struggles through that despair with drugs, time in the mental ward and self-hatred by shaving her head. She makes mistakes that cost her emotionally but at the same time encourage her growth as a mature person.  The prose in this book is superb, the characterization of every character true to each personality.  You will laugh and cry for Shelby and with her but you won’t forget this book.

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Advance Review- Lucifer by D.B. Reynolds

lucifer

Title: Lucifer (Vampires In America: The Vampire wars, book11)

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Suspense

Author: D.B. Reynolds

Publisher: ImaJinn, Nov. 18, 2016 (preorder available)

Source: Free For review from the publisher

Pages: 303

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5+

Violence Rating: 5+

Description from Amazon.com:

Montreal, Quebec . . . A charming city on the St. Lawrence River, historic, sophisticated, but beneath it all lies an extensive underground where treacherous vampires are plotting to seize the country. Lucifer Scuderi is a vampire—handsome and charismatic, a powerful hunter of unusual skill—who arrives in Montreal to take on the most important hunt of his life. Someone has kidnapped the mate of Canada’s ruling vampire lord, and it’s up to Lucifer to find him before his death sets off a crisis that could engulf the entire continent. Eleanor Morel lost everything—including the love of her life—when she became a vampire. But now, twenty years later, she’s a trusted bodyguard to the Canadian lord, Sophia, and the only person Sophia can count on to lead the search for her endangered mate. But what Eleanor doesn’t know is that the special hunter she’ll be working with is none other than her long-lost love. And he’s demanding answers. Lucifer’s love for Eleanor burns as hot as his anger towards her for leaving him. But they’ll have to find a way to set history aside and work together if they’re going to unravel the twisted betrayal that threatens not only Sophia and her mate, but the whole continent. Because the European vampires are on the move. And if Canada falls, the rest of North America could follow . . .

(D. B. Reynolds is the RT and EPIC Award-Winning author of the Vampires in America series of paranormal romance and an Emmy-nominated television sound editor. She lives with her husband of many years in a flammable canyon near Los Angeles, and when she’s not writing her own books, she can usually be found reading someone else’s. Visit her blog at dbreynolds.com for details on all of her books, for free stories, and more.)

**

I’m always wondering how to classify the genre of the Vampires In America Series.  Yes, it is Paranormal Romance but it is also Urban Fantasy, Romantic Suspense and Erotic Romance.  It is romance in that the focus is always on the romantic involvement of the main characters but the running side story is all about vampire politics which is often violent and conniving.  In this installment we are treated to the most romantic of all of Reynolds’ vampires.  Lucifer Scuderi loved Eleanor before she was made a vampire and lost her twenty years ago. Now he finds her again as his aide in recovering the kidnapped Colin and he has no intentions of losing her again. Eleanor is still besotted with Lucifer but thinks that their relationship is doomed because she thinks two vampires cannot find happiness together. Together they make a formidable team in the search for Colin.

This series is still going strong after eleven books which is to the credit of terrific writing and an author not afraid to change things up. Always, Ms. Reynolds’ heroines are feisty and quite able to take care of themselves in this violent world. Eleanor is a vampire to be reckoned with. Humans, those not a love interest of the protagonists, are relegated to bit-part players, usually as daytime trusted guards of the vampires. I would like to see humans playing a more pivotal role in the series. There is a lot of sex in this book. A lot! I personally would have liked less because the story did not need this amount to carry the plot or theme. I even found myself skipping some sex scenes, which is far beyond what I usually do, so I could get back to the meat of the story. The action scenes are truly well choreographed and leave us biting our nails to wait for the end of the confrontation.  The suspense is riveting.

This is a superb addition to a superb series.  Yes, this is a standalone book but you would do well to enjoy the entire series starting with book #1 RAPHAEL. You can type in my search box Vampires In America to find my reviews for all of the books in the series.

 

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Recent Release Review- Thrice The Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley

Title: Thrice The Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d

thrice-the-brinded-cat

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Author: Alan Bradley

Publisher: Bantam, Sept. 20, 2016

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 352

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

In spite of being ejected from Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy in Canada, twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce is excited to be sailing home to England. But instead of a joyous homecoming, she is greeted on the docks with unfortunate news: Her father has fallen ill, and a hospital visit will have to wait while he rests. But with Flavia’s blasted sisters and insufferable cousin underfoot, Buckshaw now seems both too empty—and not empty enough. Only too eager to run an errand for the vicar’s wife, Flavia hops on her trusty bicycle, Gladys, to deliver a message to a reclusive wood-carver. Finding the front door ajar, Flavia enters and stumbles upon the poor man’s body hanging upside down on the back of his bedroom door. The only living creature in the house is a feline that shows little interest in the disturbing scene. Curiosity may not kill this cat, but Flavia is energized at the prospect of a new investigation. It’s amazing what the discovery of a corpse can do for one’s spirits. But what awaits Flavia will shake her to the very core.

**

Once again in book #8 of this series, Flavia DeLuce is stumbling upon a dead body. If you have read my other reviews of books in this series, you know that Flavia is a precocious 12 year old genius with a particular interest in chemistry and crime solving.  She has been compared to Eloise and Sherlock.  For me she is just delightful.  The mystery here wasn’t as interesting as some of the past books but Flavia’s crime solving and interactions with adults is absolutely joyous. The series is set in post WWII Britain and I’m guessing the early 1950’s or late 40’s.  There is still a recovering economy and no fancy crime solving helps like DNA testing, etc.  The crimes need to be solved by ruthless investigation and brilliant deduction, both of Flavia’s star qualities. Flavia’s family consists of a hospitalized father, a book addicted reader sister Daffy and a boy crazy older sister Feely. Her chief emotional support comes from a family retainer, Dogger, who appreciates her genius and comes to her aid without condescending to her age.

Each book in The Flavia De Luce Series is a standalone novel. You may enjoy later books in the series by reading the ones that went before for background but each mystery is solved in each book.

I highly recommend this book and the entire series.

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Audiobook Review- A Marquess For Christmas by Christi Caldwell

Title: A Marquess For Christmas (Scandalous Seasons book #5)

a-marquess-for-christmas

Genre: Historical Romance/Novella

Author: Christi Caldwell

Publisher: Christi Caldwell, Nov. 2014

Source: purchase, Audible $1.99, Kindle $3.99

Pages: 149

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 4

Violence Rating:0

Description from Amazon.com:         

Lady Patrina Tidemore gave up on the ridiculous notion of true love after having her heart shattered and her trust destroyed by a black-hearted cad. Used as a pawn in a game of revenge against her brother, Patrina returns to London from a failed elopement with a tattered reputation and little hope for a respectable match. The only peace she finds is in her solitude on the cold winter days at Hyde Park. And even that is yanked from her by two little hellions who just happen to have a devastatingly handsome, but coldly aloof father, the Marquess of Beaufort. Something about the lord stirs the dreams she’d once carried for an honorable gentleman’s love. Weston Aldridge, the 4th Marquess of Beaufort was deceived and betrayed by his late wife. In her faithlessness, he’s come to view women as self-serving, indulgent creatures. Except, after a series of chance encounters with Patrina, he comes to appreciate how uniquely different she is than all women he’s ever known. At the Christmastide season, a time of hope and new beginnings, Patrina and Weston, unexpectedly learn true love in one another. However, as Patrina’s scandalous past threatens their future and the happiness of his children, they are both left to determine if love is enough.

**

This is a standalone novel with characters appearing from the previous book in the series. Although it can be followed quite easily I believe the readier will realize more enjoyment if they have read AWAYS A ROGUE, FOREVER HER LOVE book #4 in the series.

Because of Patrina’s scandalous recent past she is convinced that she will never wed.  She is also extremely contrite over the effect of her scandal on her sisters’ future.  Weston is a widower who also thinks he will never remarry because his marriage was unhappy.  Christi Caldwell tugs at our emotions in this wonderful story of two lost souls finding each other.  This is only incidentally related to the holiday season. It could have been placed in any winter setting.

Note: this book is also found in the box set of SCANDALOUS SEASONS BKs 4, 5 &6 on Kindle for $5.99 and individually on Audible for $1.99.

scandelous-seasons-box-456

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