Tag Archives: 4 stars

Review- My Fair Duchess by Julie Johnstone

my-fair-duchess

Title: My Fair Duchess (Once Upon A Rogue, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Julie Johnstone

Publisher: Night Shift, 2014

Source: Purchase (free on Kindle) Audio available, Tim Campbell narrator

Pages: 265

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:         

After years of playing the rogue to hide a dark family secret, the Duke of Aversley feels tainted beyond redemption and cynical beyond repair. Never does he imagine hope will come in the form of a quirky, quick-witted lady determined to win the heart of another aristocrat. Thanks to a painfully awkward past, Lady Amelia De Vere long ago relinquished the notion she was a flower that had yet to blossom. But when her family faces financial ruin and the man she has always loved is on the verge of marrying another, she’ll try anything to transform herself to capture her childhood love and save her family―including agreeing to participate in a bet between her brother and the notorious, dangerously handsome Duke of Aversley. Bound by the bet, Amelia and Aversley discover unexpected understanding and passion beyond their wildest dreams, if only they can let go of their pride, put trust in each other and chance losing their hearts.

***

A really good read packed with drama and some violence.  I’m warning up front that there is an attempted rape scene.  The romance is slow to develop and feels very natural that Amelia and Colin should fall in love.  The bet seems a bit convoluted and I had to read about it several times to fully grasp what it was about but this could have just been me.  That Amelia’s brother Robert was so prideful was really disappointing and once again in a HR novel I’m wishing that these characters would just be upfront and honest with each other, especially Amelia’s mother.  Now the Duke of Scarsdale was certainly an interesting character and I see that he gets the girl in book #2 of this series. Although I did want to shake a few characters out of their misguided actions, I truly enjoyed this book.

( I also listened to the Audio Book of this title and Tim Campbell does an excellent job of giving each character their own voice.  He is such a terrific narrator that it upsets me when he is disparaged by other reviewers because he occasionally gets a word mispronounced in the British accent. (He is an American actor and as far as this American is concerned he rates an A+ and his accent is perfectly okay for me.)

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Advance Review- Madly by Ruthie Knox

madly

Title: Madly (The New York Trilogy Series, book #2)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Ruthie Knox

Publisher: Loveswept, March 14, 2017 (preorder available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: ?

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.

Allie Fredericks isn’t supposed to be in Manhattan, hiding in the darkest corner of a hip bar, spying on her own mother—who’s flirting with a man who’s definitely not Allie’s father. Allie’s supposed to be in Wisconsin, planning her parents’ milestone anniversary party. Then Winston Chamberlain walks through the door, with his tailored suit, British accent, and gorgeous eyes, and Allie’s strange mission goes truly sideways. Winston doesn’t do messy. But after a pretty stranger ropes him into her ridiculous family drama with a fake kiss that gets a little too real, he finds out that messy can be fun. Maybe even a little addicting. And as the night grows longer, Allie and Winston make a list of other wild things they could do together—and what seems like a mismatch leads to a genuine connection. But can their relationship survive as their real lives implode just outside the bedroom door?

**

This book had me laughing at Allie’s “Meet Cute” with Winston.  She is in a bar spying on her mother and she might be recognized so she ropes in a stranger, Winston, for a fake kiss as her mother passes on her way to the Ladies’ room.  From there Winston becomes her aide de camp in her spying mission when he discovers he may have a key to her quest.

This story starts off with lots of promise.  It is rather a convoluted plot that sometimes left me scratching my head wondering “Why” or “What” it was always interesting and very well written.  There are some sexy, steamy downright kinky bits. Allie’s sister May and her boyfriend Ben play important roles.  Their story was in the first book of this series, TRULY. Also Nev, Winston’s brother, and Cath show up which is a definite treat since they were the H/h of Knox’s ABOUT LAST NIGHT a 5-star joy of a book. Winston had a role in that book also which is not billed as part of this current trilogy but worth a read.  Back to this book; it slows down a bit in the middle and really has some over the top drama.  Can this many characters all have this much angst? Yes, yes they can, and it is a bit exhausting.

You don’t need to read any of the aforementioned books, in and out of this series, to enjoy this book. But I do encourage you to delve into a Ruthie Knox book.  She writes fun, intelligent, sensuous contemporary romance that can be topped by no other.

The New York Trilogy Series:

  1. Truly (May and Ben)
  2. Madly (Allie and Winston)

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Advance Review- Last Night With A Duke by Amelia Grey

lastnightwiththeduke-2

Title: Last Night With A Duke: The Rakes of St. James (book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Amelia Grey

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, March 7, 2017 (preorder available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 304

Rating:4

Sexy Rating: 5- not explicit

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:         

Could finding love be his greatest scandal of all?

The Duke of Griffin has never lived down his reputation as one of the Rakes of St. James. Now rumors are swirling around London that his twin sisters may bear the brunt of his past follies. Hiring a competent chaperone is the only thing Griffin has on his mind–until he meets the lovely and intriguing Miss Esmeralda Swift. In ways he could never have expected, she arouses more than just his curiosity.

Esmeralda Swift considered herself too sensible to ever fall for a scoundrel, but that was before she met the irresistibly seductive Duke of Griffin. His employment offer proves too tempting for her to resist. She can’t afford to be distracted by his devilish charms because the stakes are so high for his sisters’ debut Season. . .unless one of London’s most notorious rakes has had a change of heart and is ready to make Esmeralda his bride.

Last Night with the Duke, the first novel in the brand-new Regency Rakes of St. James series by New York Times bestselling author Amelia Grey.

**

Esmeralda and Griffin are attracted to each other the minute he is caught eavesdropping on her scolding her employee at the Employment agency she manages. Immediately he decides that no one else will do to help chaperone his twin sisters during their debut season.  Esmeralda hesitates until he offers a huge salary and says she can bring along her sister, Josephine, and their dog, Napoleon. Of course the attraction escalates but there are secrets that Esmeralda hides and a misunderstanding that may tear them apart.

I was captivated by the handsome Duke and by his fellow rakish friends, both dukes, Rath and Hawk. (Their stories to come in future books in the series) The chemistry between Esmeralda and Griffin was hot, no matter how much they tried to douse the flames it always flared up. Napoleon, the dog, was a comical side character.  Griffin’s twin sisters Sara and Vera were typical rival siblings, so much fun to watch them try to outdo each other in their romantic debut season.  Although a bit predictable it was a very entertaining read and a delightful first book in a series.

 

 

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Advance Review- Sinful Scottish Laird by Julia London

sinful-scottish-laird

Title: Sinful Scottish Laird: A Historical Romance Novel (The Highland Grooms, book #2)

Genre: Historical Romance/Highlands

Author: Julia London

Publisher: HQN, Feb. 28, 2017 (preorder available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 384

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

Widowed and forced to remarry in three years’ time or forfeit her son’s inheritance, Daisy Bristol, Lady Chatwick, has plenty of suitors vying for her hand…and her fortune. But a letter from a long-lost love sends Daisy and her young son to her Scottish Highland estate to buy time for his return. Along the way she encounters the powerful Cailean Mackenzie, laird of Arrandale and a notorious smuggler, and she is utterly—though unwillingly—bewitched.

Cailean has no use for any Sassenach in his glen. But Daisy’s brazen, flirtatious nature and alluring beauty intrigue him. When her first love appears unexpectedly at her estate, Cailean knows that a passionate woman like Daisy cannot marry this man. And to prevent the union, Cailean must put his own life at risk to win her heart.

**

In the first book of this series, Wild Wicked Scot, we are introduced to Arren and Margot.  In this the second book of the series some years have passed and this is the story of their oldest son, Cailean and his falling in love with Sassenach, Daisy. Cailean has fought against his attraction to the flirty Daisy because he knows she must marry an Englishman to protect her son’s inheritance. There are reasons he feels he could never reside in England and he determines to encourage her to marry someone else.  Daisy knows that she must marry by year’s end.  She thinks that Robert her love of her teen years will suit, but she can’t reconcile her attraction to Cailean.

Once again I have enjoyed the well-developed characters in this series.  The story is page-turning interesting. I liked both Daisy, who knew what she wanted but also knew her duty to her son, and Cailean who knew he had to let her go.  The problems were tied up a bit too conveniently but the addition of a character from book one was welcome at the end. I hope Knox gets his own book.

This is a standalone novel with cameos by characters from the first book in the series.  You can pick up this one without having read the first and you will not be lost although I encourage you to enjoy the first book.

The Higland Grooms Series by Julia London:

  1. Wild Wicked Scot (Arren and Margot)
  2. Sinful Scottish Laird (Cailean and Daisy)
  3. Hard-Hearted Highlander (Robbie and ?)April 2017

 

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Advance Review- Royal Affair by Parker Swift

royal-affair

Title: Royal Affair (Royal Scandal, book #1)

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Erotic

Author: Parker Swift

Publisher: Forever Yours, Feb. 14, 2017 (preorder available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 352

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5+

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

One seriously sexy son-of-a-duke . . .

Behind the posh British accent, Dylan Hale possesses a down-and-dirty sexiness. Off-the-charts gorgeous, a ruthless architect . . . and did I mention he’s a future duke? Every time we touch, it’s wildfire. All need and lust and heat. But Dylan has rules: just sex, no one can know, and in the bedroom he gets complete control. All I have to do is follow the rules, because falling in love with Dylan Hale is all it would take to screw everything up . . . royally. Dylan and Lydia’s story continues!

Royal Scandal Series Book 2: Royal Disaster Book 3: Royal Treatment

***

Lydia is a sweet college grad about to start her dream job when she meets Dylan.  At first she doesn’t know he’s 1) a Marquess, 2) a paparazzi magnet and 3) a world renowned architect.  All Lydia knows is that she is in instant lust with this super-hot man. Dylan is all about seducing Lydia but only on his terms; which means no public appearances and he calls the shots.

This is very Fifty Shades meets Sweet filthy boy.  The sex is hot and kinky.  The attraction and sexual tension is off the charts.  The main characters are very believable but the side characters are a bit sketchy.  We have an Alpha man and a naïve younger woman.  There is some BDSM and spanking. I enjoyed this book but couldn’t help comparing it to those other books I mentioned. There is little that is original.

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Review-Cold Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

cold-hearted-rake

Title: Cold Hearted Rake (The Ravenels, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Lisa Kleypas

Publisher: Avon, 2015

Source: Purchase

Pages: 419

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:         

A twist of fate . . .

Devon Ravenel, London’s most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities . . . and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl’s three innocent sisters are still occupying the house . . . along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon’s own.

A clash of wills . . .

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:

Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she’s ever known?

***

I finally got around to reading this Lisa Kleypas book, her first historical romance in a very long while. I think the only thing that held me back from delving into this one sooner is that I read several reviews that told me I just might be disappointed in the book.  Now, Lisa Kleypas is a favorite author of mine so I should have realized that I would not be disappointed, and I wasn’t.

Kathleen was not a very likable character which might have irked some readers.  She was a real prude, at least until Devon wore down her resistance and after that she decided to run everyone else’s life. Devon was a true Alpha male and yes, that got a bit annoying too.  However….this is still a story written by an author who can bring even these flawed characters to life and make them seem very real.  We are given total understanding of the whys of their actions and attitudes as only an accomplished author can. The sisters, Pandora, Cassandra and Helen, are beautifully introduced and we look forward to their stories in the already released Marrying Winterbourne (Helen’s story) and the soon to be released Devil in Spring(Pandora’s story). This is a really good start to this series and as I go forward to read the rest of the series I’m glad I had this introduction to the characters.

I can recommend this book highly, it is classic Kleypas and, although not my very favorite of hers, still a beautifully wrought Historical Romance.

 

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2 Fridays ‘Til Christmas Review- Mistletoe, Mischief and The Marquis by Amelia Grey

mistletoe-mischief-and-the-marquess

Title: Mistletoe, Mischief and The Marquis (The Heir’s Club)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Amelia Grey

Publisher: Swerve, Nov 29 2016, Kindle

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 87

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 1

Violence Rating: 0

Christmasy Feeling: 5

Description from Amazon.com:         

The Marquis of Wythebury, is expecting an ordinary Christmastide at Hurst—until he is set upon by a beautiful miss who takes him to task for not allowing his young nephews to play outside. In his mind, a five and seven year old needn’t get chilled in the snow; better to plop them in front of the fire with a book. Few people have ever been brave enough to challenge him over anything, much less the rearing of his wards. The cheeky Miss Prim has no such compunction. No matter how fetching he finds her, he can’t give in to his attraction…for she is the sister of his best friend.

Growing up the middle child of five rambunctious girls, Lillian Prim doesn’t understand why two young boys visiting Hurst don’t know how to play until she meets their dashing guardian. The Marquis of Wythebury is commanding and intensely serious-minded. To her surprise, she’s captivated by him. It’s all she can do not to give into her feminine fantasies about her kissing him. Lillian has no intention of falling in love with the Marquis, but she will create Christmastide mischief and teach the boys and the handsome Marquis how to play,

**

A playful young woman and a serious Marquis.  Lillian Prim is a fun woman who knows her own mind and will stand up for the young boys against their uncle, the marquis.  Seth, the Marquis of Wythebury, is doing his best to raise his orphan nephews Fallon and Heron and he doesn’t need any help from Miss Prim.  No matter that he is instantly besotted with her when she fires a snowball at him and scores a facial bullseye. Miss Prim has feelings for the marquis also but she knows they are incompatible he being stodgy and she not.

This is a delightful, Christmasy read and I highly recommend it.  Just sit back after the wrapping and decorating and enjoy a short quiet heartwarming romance.

I think he needs to come in for some cocoa by the fire.

sexy-santav

 

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Recent Release Review- The Rebel of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood

the-rebel-of-clan-kincade

Title: The Rebel of Clan Kincaid (Highland Warrior, book#2)

Genre: Historical Romance/ Medieval

Author: Lily Blackwood

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, Dec. 6 2016

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 318

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:         

LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD

Since childhood, Magnus has been led to believe he is the Laird Alwyn’s bastard, and raised to hate the Clan Kincaid. But when he learns he is without a doubt the son of the murdered Laird Kincaid, his life as he has always known it is shattered. Now, hiding his knowledge and his fury, he returns to Burnbryde Castle, awaiting the chance to strike against the man whose treachery robbed him of his legacy. His first act of rebellion: to steal a kiss from the redheaded beauty who’s betrothed to the Alwyn’s eldest son and heir.

Since her arrival at Burnbryde, Tara Iverach has been confined to a tower to guard her virtue before she marries. But after a surprise embrace with a lean, bare-chested Highlander who claims to be the Alwyn’s oldest son, she can’t contain her excitement over her good fate. Unfortunately, he is the wrong eldest son, and she is set to marry his cruel and lecherous half brother, Hugh. Can Magnus conquer his rivals and claim his Kincaid destiny before the woman who’s captured his heart becomes his sworn enemy’s bride?

**

This is an excellent book, as long as you haven’t read the first in this series.  I know that sounds harsh but it is so much like The Beast of Clan Kincaid the first book by Lily Blackwood.  Oh yes, the names of our hero and heroine are different and the location is a few hours from the location of the first book. But the basic vengeful son plans to seek revenge on the man who killed his parents and in his down time woo away the petulant heir’s betrothed, is very much the same, down to the same petulant heir.

I meant it when I said this is an excellent book, the writing is top-notch, the characters well developed and the action scenes well drawn. So if you are new to Ms. Blackwood’s series then I’m certain you will like this book.  However if you have read the first book than you may feel a bit of dejavu.

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Release Day Review- How To Train Your Highlander by Christy English

how-to-train-your-highlander

Title: How To Train Your Highlander (Broadswords and Ballrooms, book #3)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Christy English

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, Dec. 6, 2016

Source: Free for Review from the Publisher

Pages: 352

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

She’s the Hellion of Hyde Park…

A foolproof plan to avoid marriage: 1. Always carry at least three blades. 2. Ride circles around any man. 3. Never get caught in a handsome duke’s arms.

Wild Highlander Mary Elizabeth Waters is living on borrowed time. She’s managed to dodge the marriage banns up to now, but even Englishmen can only be put off for so long…and there’s one in particular who has her in his sights.

Harold Percy, Duke of Northumberland, is enchanted by the beautiful hellion who outrides every man on his estate and dances Scottish reels while the ton looks on in horror. The more he sees Mary, the more he knows he has to have her, tradition and good sense be damned. But what’s a powerful man to do when the Highland spitfire of his dreams has no desire to be tamed…

Broadswords and Ballrooms:

  1. How to Seduce a Scot (Deet’s rating 4 stars)
  2. How to Wed a Warrior (Deet’s rating 4 stars)
  3. How to Train Your Highlander(Deet’s rating 4 stars)

**

This is perhaps the final book in this series. I’m not sure. But as you can see from my ratings I have enjoyed each of them.  I really would characterize this book as “Historical Romance Chic-lit” because it is a bit flirty, silly and adorable. Mary Elizabeth mistakes Harold for a stable hand and thus treats him as such.  Harold (Harry), since he’s a Duke, has never been talked to like a lowly stable hand and finds he rather likes playing the part.  That is until it comes time to fess up to his deception.

You will notice that this plot is a bit predictable but no less fun to read.  Perhaps Mary is a little over-the-top naïve and flighty…well.. actually clueless, for my taste, but I did enjoy reading this romp. If you are looking for something light, humorous and easy to read then you have stumbled upon a good book and series.  This is a standalone book in the series with characters making appearances from previous books.

 

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6 Fridays ‘Til Christmas Review- Winter Wonderland by Elizabeth Mansfield

winter-wonderland

Title: Winter Wonderland

Genre: Historical Romance/Holiday

Author: Elizabeth Mansfield

Publisher: Open Road Media, Oct. 2016 (E-Reader)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 161

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 1

Violence Rating: 4

Christmasy Feeling: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

For inexperienced, painfully shy Barnaby Traherne, the glittering society ball is akin to a battlefield . . . that is, until his attention is captured by an auburn-haired beauty. Scandalous rumors swirl around Miranda Pardew and now she has set her cap for a renowned rake. Ignoring the gossip, the already-smitten Barnaby gathers his courage and asks Miranda for a dance. When she rejects him—in a very public humiliation—he vows that when he reenters the fray, he will be better prepared. Eleven years later, he gets his chance, along with the opportunity to deliver to a certain haughty beauty her long-overdue comeuppance.   Once the belle of the ball, Miranda is now an impecunious widow. A stroke of luck lands her a governess position in Norfolk. Before she arrives, her stagecoach is ambushed by highwaymen, and Miranda finds herself stranded with an attractive stranger. She has no idea he’s the nobleman she rebuffed years earlier. But Barnaby has not forgotten her—and is shocked to discover that Miranda has been employed to look after his nephews. At his brother’s estate for Christmas, Barnaby tries in vain to conceal his still-wild attraction to Miranda, but a capricious fate conspires to throw Barnaby and Miranda together at every turn.

**

He truly dislikes her; she truly can’t understand why he does.  She is attracted to him, in fact she is falling in love with him but he rebuffs her and is rude to her at every turn.  And yet, he is attracted to her in spite of the fact that he despises her.  He takes a rather careless turn and we the reader, are left to wonder if this relationship can be salvaged.  Set at Christmas in Barnaby’s brother’s home, with all the family around and the new governess, Miranda, winning over everyone but Barnaby.  We hope all can be merry and bright.

This was a fun read.  Since we really already know there will be a HEA, seeing how Ms. Mansfield gets our lovers to that point is the fun.  And she does so skillfully. This is a short read, only takes an afternoon or an evening and you will be filled with some Christmasy, heartwarming feelings.  This is a sweet, tender(eventually) story, not sensuous but ultimately satisfying.

How do these sexy Santas keep getting in my posts?

sexy-santa-3

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