Tag Archives: 4.5 stars

Holiday Anthology- How the Dukes Stole Christmas by T. Dare, S. MacLean, S. Jordan & J. Shupe

How the Dukes Stole Christmas

Title: How the Dukes Stole Christmas
Genre: Historical Romance /Holiday/Anthology
Author: Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, Joanna Schupe
Publisher: Amazon Digital, Oct. 15, 2018
Source: Purchase for Kindle
Pages: 392
Rating: 4.5
Sexy Rating: 5
Violence Rating: 5
Christmasy feeling: 4
Descriptions from Amazon.com:
Christmas magic is in the air… From the ballrooms of London, to abandoned Scottish castles, to the snowy streets of Gilded Age New York, four bestselling authors whip up some unforgettable romance…with a little help from some enchanted shortbread.

“Meet Me in Mayfair” by Tessa Dare
Louisa Ward needs a Christmas miracle. Unless she catches a wealthy husband at the ball tonight, the horrid, heartless Duke of Thorndale will evict her family from their beloved Mayfair home. But when her friend begs to switch dance cards, Louisa finds herself waltzing with the enemy: the horrid, heartless—and unexpectedly handsome—Thorndale himself. Now the duke’s holding her future in his hands…and he’s not letting go.
Deet’s review: Delightful! This is Regency romance how we like it: desperate heroine, clueless Duke, magic shortbread, witty repartee and even a romp in the snow. Tessa Dare at her best. 5-stars, very sexy Christmasy feeling: 4

“The Duke of Christmas Present” by Sarah MacLean
Rich and ruthless, Eben, Duke of Allryd, has no time for holidays. Holidays are for whimsy and charm—the only two things his money cannot buy. Lady Jacqueline Mosby is full of both, even now, twelve years after she left to see the world. When Jacqueline returns for a single Christmas, Eben can’t resist the woman he never stopped loving…or the future they’d once been promised. It will take a miracle to convince her to stay…but if ever there were a time for miracles, it’s Christmas…

Deet’s review: This is the most emotional of the four novellas. We ache for Eben’s heartache and we try to figure out if Jack is in it for revenge or something else. Maclean is the mistress of perfect prose and the long awaited HEA. 5-stars, very sexy, Christmasy feeling: 5

“Heiress Alone” by Sophie Jordan
When Annis Bannister’s family leaves her behind in the rush to escape an impending snowstorm, she finds herself stranded in the Highlands, left to fend off brigands terrorizing the countryside, robbing homes locked up for winter. Her only hope falls on her neighbor, a surly hermit duke who unravels her with a look, then a kiss … until she fears the danger to her heart outweighs the danger of brigands and snowstorms.

Deet’s review: The romance felt a bit rushed. There is no denying that this novella was based on the movie HOME ALONE. There is a breath holding action scene. This one needed a bit more emotional feeling. 3.5-stars, very sexy, Christmasy Feeling: 2

“Christmas in Central Park” by Joanna Shupe
Women all over America devour Mrs. Walker’s weekly column for recipes and advice. No one knows Rose, the column’s author, can’t even boil water. When the paper’s owner, Duke Havemeyer, insists she host a Christmas party, Rose must scramble to find a husband, an empty mansion, and a cook. But Duke is not a man easily fooled and she fears her perfect plan is failing—especially when Duke’s attentions make her feel anything but professional. To save her career will she give up her chance at love?

Deet’s review: This novella is based on the movie CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT. This novella is so well done I wish it had been a full length novel. I wanted more romance between Duke and Rose although this was very sexy, but the romance was rushed.
4.5- stars, very sexy, Christmasy feeling: 5

Deet’s Over All Opinion: You can’t go wrong with this anthology. Every story is a page turner. I finished it in two nights and wanted more. Highly recommended!!

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Release Day Review- The Matrimonial Advertisement by Mimi Matthews

The Matrimonial Advertisement

Title: The Matrimonial Advertisement (Parish Orphans of Devon, book #1)
Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian
Author: Mimi Matthews
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press, Sept 4, 2018
Pages: 317
Rating: 4.5
Sexy rating: 4
Violence rating: 5
Description from Amazon:

She Wanted Sanctuary…

Helena Reynolds will do anything to escape her life in London, even if that means traveling to a remote cliffside estate on the North Devon coast and marrying a complete stranger. But Greyfriar’s Abbey isn’t the sort of refuge she imagined. And ex-army captain Justin Thornhill–though he may be tall, dark, and devastatingly handsome–is anything but a romantic hero.

He Needed Redemption…

Justin has spent the last two decades making his fortune, settling scores, and suffering a prolonged period of torture in an Indian prison. Now, he needs someone to smooth the way for him with the villagers. Someone to manage his household–and warm his bed on occasion. What he needs, in short, is a wife and a matrimonial advertisement seems the perfect way to acquire one.

Their marriage was meant to be a business arrangement and nothing more. A dispassionate union free from the entanglements of love and affection. But when Helena’s past threatens, will Justin’s burgeoning feelings for his new bride compel him to come to her rescue? Or will dark secrets of his own force him to let her go?

**
Well written with wonderful prose. Helena is desperate for someone to protect her from her greedy uncle. Justin is taken with Helena when they first meet and will “go to the ends of the earth” for her. But they are worlds apart in social standing, she an Earl’s daughter and he is an orphan bastard. There are many obstacles to overcome and scandal will follow.

I truly enjoyed reading this very original story. I do look forward to future books in this series. (Some of the orphans were introduced; Finchely and Nevelle.) I also hope the future books will explain why Mr. Oswald was so reviled. I was disappointed in this feature not being concluded satisfactorily. There is interesting information about the horrors of the Private Mental Asylums in the Victorian era.

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Recent Release Review- An Affair With A Spare by Shana Galen

An Affair With A Spare

Title: An Affair With A Spare (The Survivors, book #3)
Genre: Historical Romance/Regency
Author: Shana Galen
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, July 3, 2018
Pages: 416
Rating: 4.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:

He’s turned seduction into an art form…
Rafe Beaumont, fifth son of an earl, uses his irresistible charm with the ladies to glean dangerous war secrets. Now he’s putting those skills to the ultimate test: capturing an elusive assassin by seducing his daughter. The problem? She’s entirely immune to Rafe’s flattery.
Never before has Collette Fortier met a man as attractive as Rafe. But her father’s life is at stake, and succumbing to Rafe would be disastrous. But when Rafe turns the tables on her, offering support and friendship instead of a fleeting affair, Collette finds herself tempted in ways she never could have imagined…
The Survivors Series:
Third Son’s a Charm (Book 1)
No Earls Allowed (Book 2)
An Affair With a Spare (Book 3)

**
I am completely enjoying this series. The Survivors Club is a group of men who fought together during the Napoleonic Wars in a platoon(?) that was basically a suicide squad. Only 12 members survived and bonded like brothers on their return home to Regency England. Each member was especially skilled at a task. Rafe Beaumont was skilled at seduction and was a spy for the group.

When Rafe’s former commanding officer requests his help in ferreting out a French spy for the Foreign Office, Rafe accepts and is tasked with meeting and seducing Collette Fortier the daughter of a known French assassin. Collette is in England to seek out secret codes that will free her father from prison.

Shana Galen has added another swoon worthy hero to this wonderful series. Each book is a standalone but I encourage you to read this delightful, intelligent, humorous series. I would have liked more from the Survivor Club members in this book and I hope Ms. Galen will give us more as the series progresses. The Survivors are all so full of personality that I really missed more interaction.

 

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Review- A Man of Character by Margaret Locke

A Man of Character

Title: A Man of Character: A Magical Romantic Comedy (book #1)
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Fantasy
Author: Margaret Locke
Source: Purchase, Kindle $.99
Publisher: Locked On Love Publishing, May 2015
Pages: 336
Rating: 4.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 0
Description from Amazon:

What would you do if you discovered the men you were dating were fictional characters you’d created long ago?

Thirty-five-year-old Catherine Schreiber has shelved love for good. Keeping her ailing bookstore afloat takes all her time, and she’s perfectly fine with that. So when several men ask her out in short order, she’s not sure what to do … especially since something about them seems eerily familiar.

A startling revelation — that these men are fictional characters she’d created and forgotten years ago — forces Cat to reevaluate her world and the people in it. Because these characters are alive. Here. Now. And most definitely in the flesh.

Her best friend, Eliza, a romance novel junkie craving her own Happily Ever After, is thrilled by the possibilities. The power to create Mr. Perfect — who could pass that up? But can a relationship be real if it’s fiction? Caught between fantasy and reality, Cat must decide which — or whom — she wants more.

**
This one will keep you up turning pages into the wee hours. All of Cat Schreiber’s conjured boyfriends are swoon worthy but are they for real? Do they want Cat because THEY want her or because she has made them to want her? Then there is Ben, another swoon worthy man who Cat didn’t invent. Is he the ONE or is the One really another?

I really enjoyed all the men that Cat conjured from her stories of years past. I also liked her interaction with her best friend Eliza (Lizzie). The premise was delightful and the execution was good. My only complaint was that Cat should not have complained about her failing business when most days she was closing the bookstore to go have coffee at the café across the street. She and roommate Eliza seemed unable to make coffee or hot Chocolate for themselves.

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Recent Release Review- Someone To Care by Mary Balogh

Someone to Care

Title: Someone To Care (A Westcott Novel, book #4)
Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency
Author: Mary Balogh
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Berkley, May 1, 2018
Pages: 384
Rating: 4.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 0
Description from Amazon:

Once the Countess of Riverdale, Viola Kingsley throws all caution to the wind when adventure calls in the form of a handsome aristocrat. . . .

Two years after the death of the Earl of Riverdale, his family has overcome the shame of being stripped of their titles and fortune–except for his onetime countess, Viola. With her children grown and herself no longer part of the social whirl of the ton, she is uncertain where to look for happiness–until quite by accident her path crosses once again with that of the Marquess of Dorchester, Marcel Lamarr.

Marcel Lamarr has been a notorious womanizer since the death of his wife nearly twenty years earlier. Viola caught his eye when she herself was a young mother, but she evaded his seduction at the time. A prize that eluded him before, she is all the more irresistible to him now although he is surprised to discover that she is as eager now for the excitement he offers as he is himself.

When the two defy convention and run away together, they discover that the ties of respectability are not so easily severed, and pleasure can ensnare you when you least expect it. . . .

**

I love how Ms. Balogh can bring the Regency period to life and give us such superb characterizations. We sympathize with Viola’s anxiety and choices, and we understand Marcel even if we disagree with his choices. We become totally invested in both the H & h.
We are given cameo appearances by Viola’s extended family that brings us up to date on their lives. In depth looks at Marcel’s children and family round out a very large cast of characters. At times so many characters can be a bit overwhelming but their appearance in the novel is necessary to understand Viola and Marcel’s dealings.

This is the fourth book in the A Westcott Novel series and can standalone but I do encourage you to read the previous books in the series for a more complete understanding of Viola and her family.

(Isn’t that a beautiful cover? So classy, just like the author.)

 

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Release Day Review- Marry In Scandal by Anne Gracie

Marry In Scandal

Title: Marry In Scandal (Marriage of Convenience, book #2)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Anne Gracie
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Berkley, April 3, 2018
Pages: 336
Rating: 4.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 5
Description from Amazon:

Shy young heiress, Lady Lily Rutherford, is in no hurry to marry. She dreams of true love and a real courtship. But when disaster strikes, she finds herself facing a scandal-forced marriage to her rescuer, Edward Galbraith, a well known rake.

Despite his reputation Lily is drawn to the handsome Galbraith. In the gamble of her life, she agrees to marry him, hoping to turn a convenient marriage into a love match.

As heir to a title, Galbraith knows he must wed, so a convenient marriage suits him perfectly. But there is a darkness in his past, and secrets he refuses to share with his tender-hearted young bride. All Lily’s efforts to get close to him fall on stony ground, and in desperation she retreats to his childhood home–the place he’s avoided for nearly a decade.

Must Lily reconcile herself to a marriage without love? Or will Galbraith realize that this warm-hearted, loving girl is the key to healing the wounds of his past–and his heart?

**
Another winner from Anne Gracie. This story just grabs the reader with emotion packed scenes and dialog. There is a heroic intervention by Edward when he saves Lily from kidnappers. But in saving her life he may ruin her reputation. Can this battle-scarred man learn to love? Can loving a man be enough when he doesn’t love you back? This author can bring a story to life with action, adventure, and sensuality. This is a standalone novel in this series.

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Release Day Review- What a Highlander’s Got To Do by Sabrina York

What A Highlander's Got to Do

Title: What A Highlander’s Got To Do (Untamed Highlanders book #5)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Sabrina York
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Swerve, March 6, 2018
Pages: 243
Rating: 4.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:

Isobel Dounreay Lochlannach is a fierce and independent Scots lass. She has no intention to marry—to submit to a man—especially not an Englishman.
But when she meets a devilish stable lad on the way to London, she can’t help but sneak a kiss with the handsome stranger, sure to never see him again.
Nick Wyeth is not a stable lad. He’s Viscount Stirling, and heir to one of the most powerful dukes in the realm. If their indiscretion is discovered, Isobel will be forced to marry him, to succumb to a fate she has always spurned. Nick wants nothing but to call this wild Scottish lass his own, and is determined to show her how an English Viscount can make her swoon, and be his forever.

**
This book has bonnie lass, Isobel, in lust (or is it love?) with a gorgeous stable hand who is actually an English Viscount, Nick. (Isobel is the hellion, 5 year old from book #2 in this series, Susana and The Scot.) Nick doesn’t get to set her straight until they meet in London for the Season. Nick is in love with Isobel but Isobel has a deep prejudice against Englishmen and especially English Lords. Her attraction to Nick doesn’t wane when she finds out his station but she is determined not to marry him.

If you are looking for dialog that runs the gamut from eloquent to witty to sexy, if you like sexual tension that makes your own heart pound and if you want a darn good plot, this is the book for you. It is a standalone book but characters from previous books in the series do play important roles in this book. Did I mention that there are laugh-out-loud moments as well as some adventure. You can’t go wrong if you like those handsome Highlanders, Scots, English Lords and smart conniving Mamas as well as a feisty heroine. I highly recommend this book as well as this most entertaining series.

Untamed Highlanders Series:
Hannah and The Highlander (Deet’s review Sept. 2015- 4.5 stars)
Susana and The Scot (Deet’s review, January 2016-4.5 stars)
Lana And The Laird (Deet’s review June 2016- 4 stars)
The Highlander is All That (somehow I missed reading this one)
What A Highlander’s Got To Do (today’s review)

(Here comes a cover complaint from Deet: On this cover the woman is wearing makeup that would never be worn in the Regency Era. Please publishers, pay attention to details.)

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Advance Review- As The Devil Dares by Anna Harrington

As The Devil Dares

Title: As The Devil Dares (Capturing The Carlisles book #3)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Anna Harrington
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Forever, March 6, 2018 (preorder available)
Pages: 384
Rating: 4.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:

When playing a game of wits, never ever go up against the woman they call the Hellion . . .LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD…
Whether it’s business or pleasure, Lord Robert Carlisle never backs down from a dare. But finding a husband for scandalous Mariah Winslow? It’s one challenge he instantly regrets accepting. Even with all his connections—and rakish charms—Robert will have to use every trick in the book to marry off a woman with no dowry and no sense of decorum…no matter how stunningly beautiful she is.
Mariah Winslow has no intention of being a pawn in Lord Robert’s game. She knows he agreed to play matchmaker only to secure a partnership in her father’s shipping company, a partnership that’s rightfully hers. For now, though, she’ll dress for the elegant balls he throws and dance with the eligible bachelors he chooses. But she won’t be outwitted by the devil himself—no matter how tempting and irresistible she finds him.
Capturing The Carlisles Series:
If the Duke Demands (Deet’s Review Feb. 2017, 5-stars)
When the Scoundrel Sins (Deet’s Review Aug. 2017, 4-stars)
As the Devil Dares

**
Anna Harrington has pulled me into another fun book in her Capturing The Carlisle Series. This time it is second son, Robert’s turn to be snared in the parson’s mousetrap. Robert has been working diligently the two years since his father’s death to atone for his rakish past and assuage his guilt over his father’s death. Now he has a chance for a partnership in the most prestigious shipping company but only if he uses his connections to marry-off the owner’s daughter.

Mariah’s only desire is to be a partner in her father’s shipping business but Robert Carlisle is standing in her way. He is standing so close that she can’t help but be attracted to him.

In this enemies to lover’s trope the author brings all her skills to give us witty dialog, brilliant characterization and a unique plot. I highly recommend this book and the entire series.

 

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Advance Review- The Sins of Lord Lockwood by Meredith Duran

The Sins of Lord Lockwood

Title: The Sins of Lord Lockwood (Rules For The Reckless, book #6)
Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian
Author: Meredith Duran
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Pocketbooks, Feb. 27, 2018 (preorder available)
Pages: 368
Rating: 4.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 5+
Description from Amazon:

BACK FROM THE DEAD, AN EARL SEEKS VENGEANCE…

Liam Devaliant, Lord Lockwood, was born into a charmed life. Charismatic, powerful, and wild, he had the world at his feet—and one woman as his aim. His wedding to Anna was meant to be his greatest triumph. Instead, in a single moment, a wicked conspiracy robbed him of his future and freedom.

…BUT WILL HIS LONG-LOST COUNTESS PAY THE PRICE?

Four years later, Liam has returned from death with plans for revenge. Standing in his way, though, is his long-absent bride. Once, he adored Anna’s courage. Now it seems like a curse, for Anna refuses to fear or forget him. If she can’t win back Liam’s love, then she means at least to save his soul…no matter the cost.

**

Another page turner from Meredith Duran. Liam is a tortured soul with the scars to prove it. Anna is his wife who felt abandoned by him on their wedding night. But Liam is back after 4 years and Anna wants answers. Liam feels that he has no answers for himself or Anna.

This book delves into the dark world of torture, slavery and corrupt politics in 1860’s Britain. The theme is Liam’s revenge against the persons who caused his harm and Anna’s attempt to bring back his humanity.

The format of the early to middle of the book is back and forth each chapter between Liam and Anna’s courtship and their present reunion. This gave the story added interest. We see their relationship as it developed and how Anna’s past impacted her reaction to Liam’s disappearance.

I loved this book and this author never disappoints. The ending was just a bit too pat for me but that is my only complaint. I highly recommend this book to romance readers who don’t mind some graphic descriptions of violence.

 

 

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Advance Review- More or Less a Marchioness by Anna Bradley

More or Less a Marchioness

Title: More Or Less A Marchioness (The Somerset Sisters, book #1)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Anna Bradley
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Lyrical Press, Feb. 6, 2018
Pages: 252
Rating: 4.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:

 

For the sake of propriety, and her younger sisters’ reputations, Iris Somerset has kept her rebellious streak locked away. But though she receives a proposal from Phineas Knight, Lord of Huntington, Iris can’t marry a man she knows isn’t truly enamored with her. In fact, Iris no longer wants to be chosen—she wants to choose. Under the clandestine tutelage of “wicked widow” Lady Annabel Tallant, she’ll learn how to steer her own marriage prospects—and discover her secret appetites . . .

What kind of debutante refuses a marquess? Finn is surprised, a little chastened—and thoroughly intrigued. This new, independent version of Iris is far more alluring than the polished socialite she used to be. Finn believed he needed a safe, quiet wife to curb his wilder impulses. But the more Iris surprises him, the more impossible it becomes to resist their deepest desires . .

**
Iris jilts Finn twice! But this seems to bring him around to actually wanting to pursue her romantically. He is also determined to keep her away from Lord Wrexley who is a rogue and a rake. Iris has good reasons to refuse Finn, that Finn changes his demeanor is a bit unbelievable but welcome because we are cheering for Iris’ happiness.

I loved this book and the humor that Ms. Bradley brings to the story. I highly recommend this book and look forward to the stories of Iris’ sisters.

(another lovely blue cover)

 

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