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Advance Review- The Pleasures of Passion by Sabrina Jeffries

The pleasures of passion

Title: The Pleasures of Passion (Sinful suitors, book #4)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Sabrina Jeffries
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Pocketbooks, June 20, 2017, preorder available
Pages: 401
Rating: 4
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:

When Niall Lindsey, the Earl of Margrave, is forced to flee after killing a man in a duel, he expects his secret love, Brilliana Trevor, to go with him, or at the very least wait for him. To his shock, she does neither and sends him off with no promise for the future. Seven years and one pardon later, Niall returns to England disillusioned and cynical. And being blackmailed by the government into working with his former love to help catch a counterfeiter connected to her father doesn’t improve his mood any. But as his role as Brilliana’s fake fiancé brings his long-buried feelings to the surface once again, he wonders who is more dangerous—the counterfeiter or the woman rapidly stealing his heart.

Forced to marry another man after Niall was exiled, the now widowed Brilliana wants nothing to do with the reckless rogue who she believes abandoned her to a dreary, loveless life. So having to rely on him to save her father is the last thing she wants, much less trusts him with….But as their scheme strips away the lies and secrets of their shared past, can she let go of the old hurt and put her pride aside? Or will the pleasures of their renewed passion finally enable them both to rediscover love?

***

There is a lot going on in the first 50 pages so you better pay attention. This is a lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers trope that works because Ms. Jeffries is really adept at this kind of plotting. She does quite a bit of info dumping in the guise of dialog, which does make it more palatable. There is a mystery going on as to whom is the counterfeiter with some red herrings thrown in the path of our solving. As with most misunderstandings in HR we do wish that the Hero and Heroine would just confess their secrets to each other and get on with it, although, there are good reasons to stay quiet. This gets a bit exciting when the villain is uncovered.

Sabrina Jeffries has once again crafted a lusciously sensuous and intriguing addition to a very entertaining series. This is a standalone book so no problems if you are new to the series. I have enjoyed all the books in this series and recommend them to all Historical Romance readers.

 

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Review- The King of Bourbon Street by Thea de Salle

The King of Bourbon Street

Title: The King of Bourbon Street (NOLA Nights book #1)

Genre: Contemporary Romance/ Erotic

Author: Thea de Salle

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Pocket Star, Feb. 2017

Pages: 280

Rating: 4

Sexy rating: 5+

Violence rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

Hotel chain mogul Sol DuMont is about to learn that some of life’s biggest surprises come in deceptively small packages, namely a petite heiress named Rain who is hell-bent on upsetting her family’s expectations in this first book in the all new series by Thea de Salle, set against the sultry backdrop of New Orleans.

Thirty-seven-year-old Sol DuMont is a divorcee and the owner of a mid-sized hotel chain in New Orleans. Since Hurricane Katrina, his fathers death, and the decision that he and his ex-wife Maddy are far better off friends than lovers, he’s lost interest in almost everything he held dear, parties, people, and pushing limits. All his limits.

Then Arianna Barrington checks into his hotel. Twenty-four-year-old Arianna (Rain) Barrington could have been society’s sweetheart. Her family is moneyed, connected press darlings, and make sweeping headlines from coast to coast for reasons both good and bad. But when her mother shoves her at Charles Harwood the obnoxious, entitled heir of Harwood Corp. to cement a billion-dollar business merger, Rain does the only thing she can think of to escape: she creates a scandal so big Harwood doesn’t want her anymore before fleeing to New Orleans for much-needed rest and relaxation. All she wants is jazz piano, beignets, and to sail the Mississippi. What she gets is Sol DuMont, a whirlwind affair, and a hands-on education in sex, power play, and pushing limits. All her limits.

**

This is a really good story peppered throughout with BDSM sex. I think it important that you know this upfront since there is little if any indication in the synopsis. Arianna (Rain) is trying to gain her independence from a controlling Mother so she flees to New Orleans with her brother Vaughan as chaperone.  Sol DuMont is the head of a family-owned chain of hotels, he is the CEO and manages The Seaside in New Orleans where he lives. He and Arianna have instant chemistry and embark on a torrid, erotic affair.  Arianna’s mother, Elise, is not having Arianna’s disobedience and insists on coming between Sol and Arianna.

This is very well written and I could probably have given it 5 stars if I was inclined to enjoy the BDSM sex in this story.  However, that erotica is not my cup of tea but it is well done in this book. There is romance and interesting side characters especially Sol’s ex-wife Maddy who introduced him to the erotic pleasures he now craves and who is featured in the next book in this series, The Queen of Dauphine Street.

 

 

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Advance Review- Charming Ophelia by Rachel Miles

Charming Ophelia

Title: Charming Ophelia (The Muses Salon Series)

Genre: Historical Romance (Novella, e-book)

Author: Rachel Miles

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Zebra, May 30, 2017

Pages: N/A

Rating: 4

Sexy rating: 3

Violence rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

 

Ophelia Elliot has delayed marriage long enough. Now, for the sake of her future, she must choose between three impatient suitors. But she’s determined to use only the most rational of methods to make her decision. And when her dear friend, Sidney Mason, offers to help, how can the discerning debutante resist? Besides, spending time with him is no hardship—his dashing looks and irresistible laughter have delighted her for years. Not that Sidney is a suitable prospect. As a member of Parliament, he’s already married to the state. No matter how chivalrous his attentions, falling in love with him would be most unreasonable . . .

The fact is, Sidney finds Ophelia infuriatingly stubborn—and yet there is no other woman for him. Convincing her that she must marry for love—his love—will be a formidable challenge. So he concocts a clever strategy to expose her suitors’ true natures—and show the strong-willed beauty that when it comes to marriage, it is imperative that she follow her heart—straight into his strong and loving arms.

 

**

 

This is a delightful novella.  The book description gives a true synopsis of the story and the book is entertaining in the ways that Sydney tries to convince Ophelia that there is no other suitor for her hand than he. The “ways” are a bit outlandish but they seem to work. This is a quick and easy, sweet bon-bon of a book.  Sydney is the perfect Hero but I do wonder why Ophelia hasn’t seen his worth before now. I highly recommend this book to all romance readers.

 

 

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Review-Devil’s Bargain by Jade Lee

Devil's Bargain

Title: Devil’s Bargain (The Regency Rags To Riches Series, #2)

Genre: Historical romance/Erotic

Author: Jade Lee

Publisher: ePublishing works, Oct. 2012

Source: purchase (Kindle, $.99)

Pages: 300

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5+

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:         

A penniless relation, thanks to the sudden death of her father, Lynette resigns to the inevitable: selling herself into marriage. But to whom?

Viscount Marlock—a carnal, unrepentant, dark-devil of a man—has offered to arrange a profitable match. But for a price. The Viscount commits to teach her all she must know about ensnaring a man—using touch and tongue—opening her to the pleasures of the flesh. In turn, she must obey without question, trusting his whispered promises.

But who will be caught, and who will be saved?

***

The fact that Jade Lee can make us eventually want Adrian and Lynette to have a happily-ever-after is due to her skill as an author.  This is a sordid story but we are made to see the humanity in each of the characters.  Both Lynette and Adrian had much to lose by not completing the agreed upon contract. Only by a serendipitous happening could this conundrum be solved.

I liked this book in spite of my dislike of Adrian, who was acting the pimp.  It is super sexy. Written with in-depth characterization. Side characters, although few, are well developed and add to the narrative. Although book #2 in the series it is definitely a standalone book.  At this writing it is e-book only, with a giveaway price of $.99 on Amazon. I highly recommend this book to all Jade Lee fans, and those who like very sexy stories, you won’t be sorry.

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Release Day review- Here Comes The Bride by Alexandra Ivy

Here Comes The Bride

Title: Here Comes The Bride

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Alexandra Ivy

Publisher: Lyrical Press, May 9, 2017 (re-issue)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 495

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 4

Violence Rating: 3

Description from Amazon.com:

A BRIDE FOR LORD CHALLMOND Simon Townsled, Lord Challmond, is off to his Devonshire country estate, where he is sure to be safe from feminine wiles. But he doesn’t count on feisty do-gooder Miss Claire Blakewell—who is as determined to march down the aisle as he is to avoid it . . .

A BRIDE FOR LORD WICKTON Barth Juston, Earl of Wickton, assumes a woman would be grateful to accept an arranged marriage with him. What a shock that beautiful Isa Lawford is not! In fact, she insists she prefers someone else! Now this overconfident lord is about to enter the most perilous battle of all: a fight for a woman’s heart . . .

A BRIDE FOR LORD BRASLEIGH Philip Marrow, Lord Brasleigh, must marry off his troublesome ward, Miss Bella Howe. But determined to wed for love, Bella has run away, and Philip must track her down. Since he has never met her, he plans to play the rogue and scare her back to London. He never expects to ignite an overwhelming passion . . . or find a lady who fights fire with a clever scheme all her own . . .
From the Author: Dear Reader, Long before I wrote my sexy paranormal romances, I wrote traditional Regency romances as Debbie Raleigh. Now I’m delighted that three of my favorites are available once more. This trilogy features three dashing rakes returning home from war. But along the way, a gypsy predicts that love will trap them all. Their high-spirited response? A daring wager! By June the first, whomever Cupid catches must forfeit one thousand pounds and a red rose . . .
I’ve fallen head over heels for these timeless books all over again, and believe that you will too. Alexandra Ivy

***

Comprised of Three distinct books that are intertwined and preceded by prologues that capture the viewpoint of each aristocratic hero. All the heroes are quite similar.  They are returning soldiers, officers who fought against Napoleon, friends who spent some post-war time in Italy and now are back in England redy to assume their responsibilities toward their title and estates.  A Gypsy in Italy blessed them with a charm of true love within the next year.  So our heroes make a bet that whomever of them succumbs to true love will forfeit a thousand pounds and a red rose to the others. The remainder of the books are about our heroes Simon, Barth and Phillip trying their best to avoid falling in love and doing a terrible job of it.

Each book features a feisty heroine determined to not fall in love. Simon’s nemesis is Claire Blakewell a neighbor who seems to try Simon’s patience. Barth’s betrothed, Isa Lawford, is calling off the betrothal because she thinks she is in love with another man. Phillip’s ward, Bella Lowe, is fighting against marrying someone Phillip has chosen for her.

I enjoyed seeing how each arrogant lord was brought to true love by these strong-willed women and how each woman was struck by cupid’s arrow at the same time.  This is not a book with graphic sex scenes.  There is some sexual tension. The stories were well written and developed, with all three lords appearing in each book.  My only criticism is the author’s overuse of the word “absurd”, It appears so often as to be annoying.

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Novella Review- A Breach of Promise by Victoria Vane

A Breach of Promise

Title: A Breach of Promise (The Rules of Engagement, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance Novella/ Georgian

Author: Victoria Vane

Publisher: Vane Publishing LLC, 2nd edition, June 2016

Source: purchase for Kindle

Pages: 137

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:         

When charm and persuasion fail… Only seduction remains…

On the night of her betrothal, Lydia Trent receives just a taste of what awaits her in marriage with her fiancé…and then he leaves her wanting. Now, after waiting six years for her exceedingly reluctant bridegroom to honor his troth, Lydia is resolved to break it off. When Marcus, Lord Russell, receives Lydia’s letter demanding a release from their marriage contract, he is at first stunned, but certain that he’ll have her eating out of his hand with his usual wit and charm. Although confident that he’ll repair the damage, he has no clue how determined the headstrong Lydia is to thwart his every effort to win her back. Yet, Marcus discovers, in spite of her conviction to end the engagement, Lydia is more responsive to his touch than he ever imagined. He just needs to get her alone to unleash the promised passion he sees within his virgin fiancée. Armed with this knowledge, he will use any tool in his arsenal to exploit her weakness. In short, he’ll just have to ruin her!

***

I am a fan of Victoria Vane.  Her Historical Romances are my favorites and this short novella is no exception.  In signature steamy prose the author has given us a look at a sweet heroine who has reached her limit of understanding and a rather self-absorbed hero who his getting his comeuppance. That the author can bring to life these well-constructed characters in such a short book is to her credit. She also introduces us to Mariah and Nick, the protagonists in the next book in the series, A PLEDGE OF PASSION. I recommend this book to all romance readers.

 

 

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Release Day Review- The Thing About Love by Julie James

The Thing About Love

Title: The Thing About Love

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Julie James

Publisher: Berkley, April 18, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 380

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

The New York Times bestselling author of Suddenly One Summer blows the covers of two FBI agents who can’t hide who they are from each other…   FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army Ranger clashed during their training at Quantico and gladly went their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to be assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting.   For both of them, being paired with an old rival couldn’t come at a worse time. Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team. In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work together—a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic beachfront resort as part of the investigation. Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a lot more complicated…

***

Everything you wanted to know about FBI Special Agents and Black Ops training.  Oh you wanted more romance, well you might have to wait a long while in this read but eventually the hero, John , and the heroine, Jessica, do get around to lusting after each other.  Of course their first meet, 6 years prior, was competitive smack-down, bullying sessions at their initial FBI Academy training. Not exactly conducive to romance although our hero insists that’s the way he rolls in attempts at generating romantic interest.  Yes, I do have issues with this book.  And, now don’t be surprised, I liked it even in spite of those issues.

I do like a book where I learn about a subject heretofore not in my wheel house, the FBI training. I liked the info about undercover work.  Since I am a newbie to this subject I can only assume the author has her facts straight. That these two people who hated each other fell in love was a stretch but at least we finally get some romance in this romance book.  I thought there were several missed opportunities for some action and crisis since we only get that at the very end of the book and then it is nothing much.

Do I recommend it? With reservations. If you are a fan of this author, yes. If you want to learn about the FBI, sure. If you want action and romance, not so much but it is steamy and sexy

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Recent Release Review- I Dared The Duke by Anna Bennett

I Dared the Duke

Title: I Dared The Duke: A Wayward Wallflowers Novel

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Anna Bennett

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperback, April, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 365

Rating:4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

DARE TO FALL IN LOVE

Alexander Savage, the Duke of Blackshire, is known throughout the ton for three things: the burn scars on his neck, his ornery disposition, and the trail of broken hearts behind him. None of which would concern Miss Elizabeth Lacey in the least—if she weren’t living under his roof. As his grandmother’s companion, Beth is all too concerned with the moody and compelling duke. Incensed by his plans to banish the sweet dowager duchess to the country, Beth refuses to do his bidding. If Alex wants her help, he’s going to have to take her dare…and grant her three wishes.

Alex adores his grandmother, which is precisely why she must leave. A string of unfortunate incidents has him worried for the safety of everyone around him—including the dowager’s loyal and lovely companion, Beth. But the notorious wallflower isn’t as meek as she appears, and as their battle of wills heats up, so does Alex’s desire. He’s dangerously close to falling in love with her…and revealing secrets he’d rather keep hidden. How can he convince her that his darkest days are behind him—and that, for the first time in forever, his heart is true?

I Dared the Duke continues Anna Bennett’s Regency-era romance series, The Wayward Wallflowers.

***

If you like your heroines feisty and your heroes handsome, if a bit difficult, then this is your book. Beth adores her employer who just happens to be Alex’s grandmother.  Alex thinks someone is trying to kill him and he worries for the safety of his grandmother and Beth.  He doesn’t want to tell them why he wants them out of his London house and into the country so Beth digs in her heels and will only go if Alex grants his grandmother’s wishes. There is a mystery to be solved and secrets to be discovered.

I enjoyed this fun and light novel.  At times Beth’s attitude was a bit present-day instead of Regency so if you are a stickler for authenticity then you may be disappointed. I found it to be charming. The romance is slow developing so it feels very natural.

(I love that book cover!!)

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Rereading The Bridgertons- To Sir Phillip With Love by Julia Quinn

To Sir Phillip With Love

Title: To Sir Phillip with Love (the Bridgertons, book #5)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Julia Quinn

Publisher: Avon, 2003 (reprint with 2nd Epilogue 2017, cover as above)

Source: Purchase, on Keeper Shelf

Pages: 372

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 3

Description from Amazon.com:

Sir Phillip knew that Eloise Bridgerton was a spinster, and so he’d proposed, figuring that she’d be homely and unassuming, and more than a little desperate for an offer of marriage. Except . . . she wasn’t. The beautiful woman on his doorstep was anything but quiet, and when she stopped talking long enough to close her mouth, all he wanted to do was kiss her . . . and more.

Did he think she was mad? Eloise Bridgerton couldn’t marry a man she had never met! But then she started thinking . . . and wondering . . . and before she knew it, she was in a hired carriage in the middle of the night, on her way to meet the man she hoped might be her perfect match. Except . . . he wasn’t. Her perfect husband wouldn’t be so moody and ill-mannered, and while Phillip was certainly handsome, he was a large brute of a man, rough and rugged, and totally unlike the London gentlemen vying for her hand. But when he smiled . . . and when he kissed her . . . the rest of the world simply fell away, and she couldn’t help but wonder . . . could this imperfect man be perfect for her?

**

This offering in the series is not one of my favorites although it is still a very good read.  I think I was put off by Phillip’s rudeness toward Eloise, and also I had trouble understanding Eloise’s desperation in finding a husband.  Yes, she had turned down 6 offers of marriage but to run off willy-nilly to find a husband just didn’t jive with me. She comes from a very popular and wealthy family so she should have had another chance or two at marriage while at home. She didn’t seem to have too much in common with Phillip, and his children were more than a handful for a woman with no previous experience raising children.  We did get to see The Bridgerton brothers once more and they totally outshined Sir Phillip.

(My book did not have the second epilogue that is in the current edition of this book.)

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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Review- Someone To Love by Mary Balogh

Someone To Love

Title: Someone To Love (Westcotts Book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Mary Balogh

Publisher: Berkley, Nov. 2016

Source: Purchase

Pages: 398

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

Humphrey Westcott, Earl of Riverdale, has died, leaving behind a fortune that will forever alter the lives of everyone in his family—including the daughter no one knew he had…   Anna Snow grew up in an orphanage in Bath knowing nothing of the family she came from. Now she discovers that the late Earl of Riverdale was her father and that she has inherited his fortune. She is also overjoyed to learn she has siblings. However, they want nothing to do with her or her attempts to share her new wealth. But the new earl’s guardian is interested in Anna…   Avery Archer, Duke of Netherby, keeps others at a distance. Yet something prompts him to aid Anna in her transition from orphan to lady. As London society and her newfound relatives threaten to overwhelm Anna, Avery steps in to rescue her and finds himself vulnerable to feelings and desires he has hidden so well and for so long.

***

Leave it to Mary Balogh to make the Regency era come alive with what feels like true characterization of people of the times.  The orphanage is not a horrid place ala Dickens, it is where our heroine grew up in poverty but surrounded by caring people.  The aristocracy is portrayed with an all-encompassing entitlement and blood lines be damned if you are found to be illegitimate. Our hero, or perhaps he is an anti-hero, is short, slender, “angelic” looking and yet he exudes an aura of danger and power.  The Westcott family is outraged by the turn of events and yet our heroine, Anna (Anastasia), maintains her dignity throughout.

The romance is subtle and more like friendship at first.  There is not any strong attraction only mild interest on both sides.  I was wondering why Anna wasn’t more attracted to Alexander the new Earl instead of The Duke.  There is a rather huge character dump in the beginning of this book and keeping everyone straight was difficult even with the family tree in the front of the book.  This is not one of my favorite books of Ms. Balogh but I did like it, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series, SOMEONE TO HOLD, especially since I now think I have all the characters straight.

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