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Advance Review- Duke With Benefits by Manda Collins

Title: Duke With Benefits (Studies In Scandal, book #2)

Duke with Benefits

Genre: Historical Romance/ Mystery
Author: Manda Collins
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, June 27, 2017 (preorder available)
Pages: 320
Rating: 4.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 5
Description from Amazon: Lady Daphne Forsyth is a brilliant mathematician with a burning passion for puzzles. When she learns that the library belonging to her benefactress houses the legendary Cameron Cipher—an encrypted message that, once solved, holds the key to great riches—Daphne is on the case. Unfortunately, her race to unlock the cipher’s code is continually thwarted by a deliciously handsome distraction she hadn’t counted on. . .and cannot resist.
Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland, is curious as to why Daphne is spending so much time snooping around his aunt’s bookshelves. He’s even more intrigued by her bold yet calculating manner: She is unapologetic about her secret quest. . .and the fiery attraction that develops between them both. But how can they concentrate on solving a perplexing enigma once the prospect of true love enters the equation?

***
This is the second book in the Studies in Scandal series that was introduced in book #1, Ready Set Rogue. The series deals with four highly intelligent young women who together inherit a country estate from a benefactress who believes in their bluestocking leanings. To keep their inheritance the women must live at the estate for a year.
Daphne Forsyth has an inability to tell a white lie, she takes most everything spoken literally, which often causes others to have hurt feelings. This distresses Daphne since she is really a nice young woman who does not mean to hurt her friends. Dalton finds her entertaining and tries to help with her social faux pas. He is also falling in love with her and meets resistance from Daphne who has no desire to marry. She is content to be a bluestocking mathematician. There are evil villains who will stop at nothing to secure the treasure for themselves.
I thoroughly enjoyed this addition to the series. The romance is fun and certainly steamy, the mystery kept me guessing and the characters are well developed. I do think the reader will enjoy this book more if they read the first book in the series. That book gives a true foundation for the mysteries and the young women. However this book can be read as a standalone.
I can recommend this book to all Historical Romance readers. I certainly look forward to the next book in the series.
.

 

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Advance Review- Scandal of The Season by Liana Lefey

Scandal of the season

Title: Scandal of The Season

Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency

Author: Liana Lefey

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Entangled Select Historical, May 30, 2017

Pages: 300

Rating: 4.5

Sexy rating: 4

Violence rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

Five years ago, Lord Sorin Latham fled England’s shores to avoid heartbreak and scandal in the form of one Lady Eleanor Cramley. On returning home, he finds the young miss he used to scold for lack of decorum is now a stunning woman who fires his blood. But he must resist temptation or risk losing his honor as a gentleman and the friendship of those he holds dear, including Eleanor.

Lady Eleanor is determined to be the paragon of propriety Sorin urged her to become. But now that he’s back, the man she once thought of as an older brother makes her long to be anything but proper. She must make Sorin see her as worthy of his heart and his desire without losing his good opinion, or her Season will end in disgrace.

**

A new-to-me author, Liana Lefey, has come up with a very enjoyable friends-to- lovers story.  Sorin and Ellie are each afraid that the other sees them as nothing more than a brother or sister and each is endeavoring to show the other that there is more to their feelings.  However they keep getting it wrong until a villain forces their hand.

This is a most entertaining book from an author that I hope to hear more from.  It is well written, historically accurate and a fun read.  The side characters are well developed with a hint of more books to come.

 

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Release Day Review: The Darkest Corner by Liliana Hart

The Darkest Corner

Title: The Darkest Corner (Gravediggers, book #1)

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Author: Liliana Hart

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Pocket Books, May 23, 2017

Pages: 368

Rating: 4.5

Sexy rating: 5

Violence rating: 5++

Description from Amazon:

Liliana Hart’s first book in her suspenseful Gravediggers series, featuring an elite group of mysterious men who might be dead to the world, but are also tasked with saving it—and no one can ever know.
The Gravediggers aren’t exactly what they seem. They’re the most elite of the world’s fighting forces—and all they have in common is that they’ve been betrayed by the countries they’ve died for. Because they are dead. To their country, their military, and their families.

Sometimes the dead do rise…
Deacon Tucker is a dead man walking. A former black ops agent, he was disavowed and stripped of all honor before being recruited as a Gravedigger. But his honor and good name no longer matter, because no one knows he’s alive, and he’ll never get the recognition he deserves. His mission is simple: save the world or die trying. And for God’s sake, don’t ever fall in love. That’s a rule punishable by death. The kind of death a man can’t be brought back from.
Tess Sherman is the only mortician in Last Stop, Texas. She has no idea how Deacon Tucker ended up in her funeral home, but she’ll eat her hat if he’s
only a funeral home assistant. Deacon is dangerous, deadly, and gorgeous. And she knows her attraction to him can only end in heartache.
Deacon is on a mission to stop the most fatal terror attack the world has ever known—what’s known as The Day of Destiny—a terrorist’s dream. But when he discovers Tess has skills he can use to stop them, he has to decide if he can trust her with secrets worth dying for. And, most important, he has to decide if he can trust her with his heart.

**

This is the heart pounding, breath-holding first book in Liliana Hart’s Gravedigger series.  There are six Gravediggers, American Deacon, Aussie Axel, French Colin, British Dante, Israeli Levi and former Navy Seal Elias.  All are bad-ass, gorgeous and super intelligent. All have been sent to Last Stop, Texas to set up a headquarters for the secret Black Ops organization, Neptune. All are under the thumb of Eve Winter a no-holds barred  supervisor who holds them in check with threats against their lives. Deacon is the leader and their cover in this small town is as assistants at the funeral home where Tess Sherman is the mortician.  Eve Winter bought the funeral home out from under Tess but agreed to the stipulation that Tess remain on in charge of the Funeral Home. Tess and Deacon are attracted to each other but trying to keep their relationship on a professional level.  Deacon is afraid to involve Tess in the danger of their missions, Tess is trying to stave off town gossip. Of course this will fail. But the biggest threat is the terrorists that they need to thwart.

 Wow! This book is why we love Romantic Suspense; it is brimming with action, adventure, sexual chemistry, evil villains and witty dialog.  The characters are well developed so that we look forward to the next books in the series. The action doesn’t ramp up until the second half of the book but never mind that since finding out the back stories of all the players, and side characters from town, is fascinating and we do want to know more of each in future books. We won’t have to wait very long for those books since Books #2 & #3 are releasing in the next two months. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Gravedigger Series: (pre-orders available)

  1. The Darkest Corner (Deacon and Tess) May 2017
  2. Gone To Dust (Miller and Elias) June, 2017
  3. Say No More (Dante and Eva) July 2017

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Recent Release Review- Dating The Undead by Juliet Lyons

Dating The Undead

Title: Dating The Undead (Undead Dating Service, book #1)

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Contemporary

Author: Juliet Lyons

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, May 2, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 352

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

For mortals wanting to get up close and personal with the beautiful undead, there’s…

V-DATE, THE UNDEAD DATING SERVICE

Silver Harris is over clingy men—maybe men altogether. But when she shares a toe-curling kiss with a sexy Irish vampire on New Year’s Eve, she wonders if maybe it’s human men she’s done with. Silver turns to the popular vampire dating site, V-Date, but soon she’s in over her head and her mysterious hottie is nowhere to be found…

Logan Byrne can’t get that sassy redhead out of his head—or that kiss! When his boss assigns him to spy on V-Date members, he meets Silver again. Turns out, the police are recruiting humans to snitch on vampires through the dating site. As the snark and sparks fly, feelings between Silver and Logan grow deep and suddenly Logan isn’t so sure he can betray her, no matter how dangerous the consequences might be.

***

Silver Harris is a shopgirl with a yen for a vampire that gave her a New Year’s Eve kiss. She goes on the dating site for vampire-human dating hoping she can get the same tingles or even find that hot vampire. The police find her, enlist her to spy on the vampires on the site, and make her an offer she can’t refuse.  Meanwhile Logan Byrne is sent to glamour her so she doesn’t remember anything about vampires. But he can’t bring himself to glamour the woman he is falling for. Silver and Logan have combustible chemistry together and embark on a torrid love affair that could mean the end of both of them.

Oh Goody! Here we have a Paranormal Romance chock full of steamy sex and torrid action all wrapped up in a terrific story line, relatable characters, evil villainous vampires and a few loveable ones (but don’t tell them that, they get miffed). These vampires don’t need blood to survive but like a bite, they can’t fly but can do giant leaps, and they are all gorgeous.   I thoroughly enjoyed this well written introduction to a new series.  I look forward to the next, Romancing The Undead, book #2, about Vincent a vampire we met in this book.

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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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