Tag Archives: 4.5 stars

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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Rereading The Bridgertons-On The Way To The Wedding by Julia Quinn

On the way to the wedding

Title: On The Way to the Wedding (The Bridgertons, book #8)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Julia Quinn

Publisher: Avon, March 2009

Source: purchase

Pages: 384

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:         

A funny thing happened…

Unlike most men of his acquaintance, Gregory Bridgerton believes in true love. And he is convinced that when he finds the woman of his dreams, he will know in an instant that she is the one. And that is exactly what happened. Except…

She wasn’t the one. In fact, the ravishing Miss Hermione Watson is in love with another. But her best friend, the ever-practical Lady Lucinda Abernathy, wants to save Hermione from a disastrous alliance, so she offers to help Gregory win her over. But in the process, Lucy falls in love. With Gregory! Except…

Lucy is engaged. And her uncle is not inclined to let her back out of the betrothal, even once Gregory comes to his senses and realizes that it is Lucy, with her sharp wit and sunny smile, who makes his heart sing. And now, on the way to the wedding, Gregory must risk everything to ensure that when it comes time to kiss the bride, he is the only man standing at the altar…

***

Ah yes, the final Bridgerton sibling is given a book in which he is to fall in love.  All Julia Quinn fans are sighing with the satisfaction that they all get an HEA or with tears that the saga has come to a close.  I’m a bit of both but Ms. Quinn has given us one last hurrah in that she did pen 2nd Epilogues for all the books which can be found in THE BRIDGERTONS: Happily Ever After.  But back to Gregory and Lucy…

This was a delightful book where falling in love seems to be the rule for everyone. Gregory falls for Hermione, Hermione loves Edmond, Lucy is engaged to Lord Halsby, Richard loves Hermione, Lucy loves Gregory, Lord Halsby loves?….Yes, it seems that Hermione is the most sought after and Lucy is her Regency style wingman.  How Ms. Quinn brings about a successful HEA with all that is going on is just a testament to her skill as an author.  Just when we think that all will work out for the best a twist throws all our speculation to the wind. Such Fun! Gregory is such a handsome, well-spoken Bridgerton just like his brothers.  Lucy is organized, practical and not flighty like Hermione, but also not as beautiful which gives her a slight inferiority complex.  Somehow we know, probably because we have met this family in the other 7 books, Gregory will come to his senses and fall in love with Lucy.

Another terrific book in this terrific series.  I originally read them out of order but I really suggest that you tackle them in order like I did for this reread.  And like me you can now get each one as you finish the previous because they are all available. Yay!

The Bridgerton Series (H or h)

  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
  9. The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After (2nd Epilogues to each book and a Violet B. novella)

 

 

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Release Day Review-Hard-Hearted Highlander by Julia London

Hard-Hearted Highlander

Title: Hard-Hearted Highlander (The Highland Grooms, book #3)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Julia London

Publisher: HQN Books, April 25, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 384

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:         

An indomitable governess…a brooding Highlander…a forbidden affair… 

An ill-fated elopement cost English-born governess Bernadette Holly her reputation, her unsuitable lover and any chance of a future match. She has nothing left to fear—not even the bitter, dangerously handsome Scot due to marry her young charge. Naïve wallflower Avaline is terrified to wed Rabbie Mackenzie, but if he sends her home, she will be ruined. Bernadette’s solution: convince Rabbie to get Avaline to cry off…while ignoring her own traitorous attraction to him.

A forced engagement to an Englishwoman is a hard pill for any Scot to swallow. It’s even worse when the fiancée in question is a delicate, foolish young miss—unlike her spirited, quick-witted governess. Sparring with Bernadette brings passion and light back to Rabbie’s life after the failed Jacobite uprising. His clan’s future depends upon his match to another, but how can any Highlander forsake a love that stirs his heart and soul?

**

For all highlander lovers this is a terrific story.  We have a naïve teenager, a worldly governess and a handsome highlander.  The makings of a really satisfying read.  Rabbie is still mourning his first love and is fighting a severe depression when he agrees to help his family and clan by marrying an English debutante who lives on the adjoining land. Avaline wants no part of the brooding, unlikable Rabbie but is being forced to marry.  Bernadette at first dislikes Rabbie but eventually understands his despondency and falls madly in love with him.  This is a triangle that seems totally without a happy outcome.  That the author, Julia “fantastic” London, pulls off a HEA is because of her superb storytelling skill.

I guarantee you will like this one and come back for more from this author. All books in the series are connected by cameos of previous characters but can definitely standalone. Read them all, you’ll thank me.

The Highland Grooms Series:(Deet has reviewed all of these, search in the search box on the left column for the review)

  1. Wild wicked Scot
  2. Sinful Scottish Laird
  3. Hard-Hearted Highlander

 

 

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Rereading The Bridgertons- When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn

When He Was Wicked

 

Title: When He Was Wicked (The Bridgertons book #6)

 

Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency

 

Author: Julia Quinn

 

Publisher: Avon, 2004 (reprint 2009)

 

Source: Free for review from the publisher

 

Pages: 364

 

Rating: 4.5

 

Sexy Rating: 5

 

Violence Rating: 0

 

Description from Amazon.com:

In every life there is a turning point.  A moment so tremendous, so sharp and breathtaking, that one knows one’s life will never be the same. For Michael Stirling, London’s most infamous rake, that moment came the first time he laid eyes on Francesca Bridgerton. After a lifetime of chasing women, of smiling slyly as they chased him, of allowing himself to be caught but never permitting his heart to become engaged, he took one look at Francesca Bridgerton and fell so fast and hard into love it was a wonder he managed to remain standing. Unfortunately for Michael, however, Francesca’s surname was to remain Bridgerton for only a mere thirty-six hours longer — the occasion of their meeting was, lamentably, a supper celebrating her imminent wedding to his cousin.

But that was then . . . Now Michael is the earl and Francesca is free, but still she thinks of him as nothing other than her dear friend and confidant. Michael dares not speak to her of his love . . . until one dangerous night, when she steps innocently into his arms, and passion proves stronger than even the most wicked of secrets . . .

***

Francesca and Michael play a cat and mouse game of frustrating sexual desire for most of this book.  The sexual tension is craftily built until we give a big sigh when they finally fall into each other’s arms.  But then something happens that turns sweet, grieving, proper Francesca into a wanton woman so out of character that it shocked me, not just once, several times.  That Michael was a rather rough and tumble lover was also a surprise since he was always so careful of Francesca and her feelings. Yes, they had passion for each other. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the love scenes no matter how much I longed for them to be together.  So that is why this fabulous book only got 4.5 stars from me.  Everything else was 5-star.

 

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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Recent Release Review- The Duke of Desire by Darcy Burke

The Duke of Desire

Title: The Duke of Desire (The Untouchables, book #4)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Darcy Burke

Publisher: Darcy Burke, March 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 290

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:         

Ten years ago Ivy Breckenridge’s life was ruined. She had to reinvent herself, and now, after painstakingly making her own way in the world, she’s nearly forgotten the dreams of home and family she’d once nurtured. Until one man peers into her soul and awakens every one of her hidden desires. But no matter how good he makes her feel, she can’t trust him—alone by choice is better than alone by necessity. With a notorious reputation for training married women in the art of passion, Sebastian Westgate, Duke of Clare, is reviled by some and celebrated by others. He doesn’t allow anyone close enough to see past his charming exterior. When Ivy uncovers the man beneath, the seducer is suddenly the seduced. Enraptured by her mind and spirit, he wants more but revealing his darkest secrets is a price he won’t pay.

***

Here is a yummy romance not to be missed.  We have a Regency style sex-therapist in the guise of the Duke of Clare, and yes that sounds a bit strange but trust me it all works in the hands of this terrific author.  Then we have a ladies’ companion, Ivy, who has a scandalous past but is totally charmed by the Duke.

This is the first book I have read in this series and I was not lost.  Characters from the previous books make appearances but all is well explained.  However I do wish to read their stories in books 1-3.

I highly recommend this steamy, sexy, page turner to all romance aficionados.

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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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