Tag Archives: Manda Collins

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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Recent Release Review- Ready, Set, Rogue by Manda Collins

ready-set-rogue

Title: Ready, Set, Rogue (A Studies In Scandal Novel, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Manda Collins

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, Jan. 3, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 320

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:         

When scholarly Miss Ivy Wareham receives word that she’s one of four young ladies who have inherited Lady Celeste Beauchamp’s estate with a magnificent private library, she packs her trunks straightaway. Unfortunately, Lady Celeste’s nephew, the rakish Quill Beauchamp, Marquess of Kerr, is determined to interrupt her studies one way or another…

Bequeathing Beauchamp House to four bluestockings—no matter how lovely they are to look at—is a travesty, and Quill simply won’t have it. But Lady Celeste’s death is not quite as straightforward as it first seemed…and if Quill hopes to solve the mystery behind her demise, he’ll need Ivy’s help. Along the way, he is surprised to learn that bookish Ivy stirs a passion and longing that he has never known. This rogue believes he’s finally met his match—but can Quill convince clever, skeptical Ivy that his love is no fiction?

***

I’m no stranger to Manda Collins’ books.  I’ve read and enjoyed many (at least 5) over the past few years.  I’ve always found them to have unique plots and this offering is no exception.  Ivy receives a letter when she arrives at the Beauchamp estate from her deceased benefactor, Celeste Beauchamp, telling her that if she is reading the letter then she, Celeste, has died and probably under mysterious circumstances.  She tells Ivy to work with her nephew, Quill, to solve her murder. Of course this alliance leads to time spent in each other’s company and a romance blossoms, rather quickly.

I have to confess that this book is not a favorite of mine.  I thought much of the story predictable, and some incidents a bit of a cliché. The characterization of all characters was well realized and individual personalities of the other ladies inheriting along with Ivy were well drawn.  We can, hopefully, look forward to their stories as the series continues. The mystery is interesting and held my attention even if I didn’t feel a romantic bond formed between Ivy and Quill. I recommend this book with some reservations.

 

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Recent Release Review- Good Dukes Wear Black by Manda Collins

Title: Good Dukes wear Black (The Lords of Anarchy, book #3)

Good Dukes Wear Black

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Manda Collins

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, April 5, 2016

Pages: 318

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

LOVE IS ALWAYS A WILD RIDE.

A writer for the Ladies Gazette, Miss Ophelia Dauntry’s passion is her pen. So when she sees a fellow writer kidnapped before her eyes—and the trail of evidence leads to the Lords of Anarchy—Ophelia vows to find her friend and take down the notorious London driving club in her column. But before she can argue her case, she needs the inside scoop from its newest leader: Piers Hamilton, the Duke of Trent.

Headstrong, handsome Trent joined the Lords of Anarchy after a decade in the British Army. He’s made it his business to tame the misbehavior within the driving club—and the infuriatingly attractive Ophelia is only getting in his way. The deeper she digs into the case, the more she puts her own life at risk. Can Trent convince Ophelia to trust him to seek justice…and find protection, and passion, in his arms?

**

Ophelia and Trent are not strangers to each other.  They have often been together socially with his dear friends, Lord Lisle and the Earl of Mainwaring and their wives Hermione and Leonora.  However they have never been alone together until the day Ophelia shows up at his door after the attack on her friend Maggie.  Trent is incensed at the violence against Ophelia and Maggie and agrees to help Ophelia discover the whereabouts of her dear friend. Thus thrown together in their search they become attracted to each other.

Manda Collins has a way with pulling the reader into her plots that are filled with mystery, action and adventure.  The simmering, sensual romance is like the frosting on the cake.  Trent is a hero we love as were Lisle and Mainwaring in the first two books in the series. Ophelia is a determined heroine but too often is foolish at risking her neck. And Trent should have realized that she can’t be left alone or she will cause more trouble.

This was a quick read and will certainly be enjoyed by those who like mystery and action along with their sexy romance.

The Lords of Anarchy Series:

  1. A Good Rake is Hard to Find (Leonora and Freddy)
  2. Good Earl Gone Bad (Hermione and Jasper)
  3. Good Dukes wear Black (Ophelia and Trent)

 

 

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Advance Review- Good Earl Gone Bad by Manda Collins

Title:  Good Earl Gone Bad (Lords of Anarchy, book #2)

Good Earl Gone Bad

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Manda Collins

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, Oct. 6, 2015 (Preorder available)

Pages: 300

Source: free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Marriage? To a gambler? You must be joking! Yet Lady Hermione Upperton has never backed down from a challenge. When her spendthrift father offers her at the gaming tables, she is given a difficult choice–wed the Earl of Mainwaring, an infamous gamester with no respect for her skills with the reins, or face charges for the murder of a member of the infamous Lords of Anarchy. Either way she’ll have to clear her name. Can she count on her husband’s help the way she has begun to count on his kisses? All Jasper Fawley, the Earl of Mainwaring, wanted was a night of cards. But by the end of the evening he’s walked away with a fortune–and a bride who’s suspected of murder. Jasper knows Hermione is passionate about her unorthodox membership in the Lords of Anarchy, but he’s certain she would never kill to keep it. Can he protect his headstrong wife from prosecution and a ruthless killer without endangering both their hearts in the process?

**

I do like my romance with some suspense and mystery and this book delivers on all three.  Jasper is the hunky Earl that is also intelligent, fearless and kind.  The combination that all romance readers love.  Hermione is a bit of a tom-boy for her time and likes to drive her phaeton with her beautiful matched grey horses.  That is until her father loses the horses in a card game.  There is something amiss when the winner of the horses is found….well, I will let you find out for yourselves.

Manda Collins has given us a well-constructed mystery with some delicious sensuality and perfectly nuanced characters.  I turned pages anxiously to find out who was behind the mystery.  I was rewarded by a I-never-saw-that-coming surprise which was most satisfying and made sense. Hermione and Jasper had a friends to lovers romance, even though Jasper used his personal skill to ensure that he won her hand.

This is the second book in The Lords of Anarchy series, but it is a standalone novel with side characters from book #1, A Good Rake is Hard to Find, playing important roles in this story.

 

 

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Recent Release Review- Once Upon A Christmas Kiss by Manda Collins

Title: Once Upon A Christmas Kiss

Once Upon A christmas Kiss

Genre: Historical Romance/Holiday/Novella

Author: Manda Collins

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paper backs, Oct. 14, 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Christmasy Feeling: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

When Sir Lucien Blakemore arrives at his cousin’s estate for a week-long Christmas party, he’s shocked to see Miss Winifred Nightingale among the other guests. Employed by his neighbor back in Yorkshire, the governess with the lovely eyes has always seemed off limits, but she’s visiting here as a guest—and there’s nothing like a little mistletoe to make the spirits bright…

Miss Winifred Nightingale never dreamed a holiday visit with her sister would lead to both ladies spending Christmas as the local lord’s guests. But the big surprise is when she finds the handsome Sir Lucien Blakemore staying there too. The attraction between them is undeniable, but will an old nemesis and a party guest bent on mischief make their first kiss under the mistletoe their last?

**

This is a rather predictable yet thoroughly engaging story. It is chock-a-block full of Christmasy feeling. There is skating and sledding, wassail bowls and Yule Logs. We even are treated to a whodunit with our hero and heroine trying to ferret out the villain. There is the ubiquitous meddling mama and not only is she putting forth her daughters for marriage in an unsuccessful way, she is so overbearing as to alienate the entire houseparty. Manda Collins has given us a fun holiday story. At only 136 pages you can put your feet up and take a trip to an old time English Christmas for a few hours. Oh did I forget to mention the hot romance…so sorry.

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Recent Release Review- Why Lords Lose Their Hearts by Manda Collins

Title:  Why Lords Lose Their Hearts(Wicked Widows, book #3)

Why-Lords-Lose-Their-Hearts

 Genre:  Historical Romance/Mystery

Author: Manda Collins

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, July 29, 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

THE TRUTH COULD RUIN HER

In Manda Collins’s Why Lords Lose Their Hearts, Perdita, the widowed Duchess of Ormonde, keeps a dangerous secret—the truth of how her brutish husband died. But a mysterious avenger seems to know it, too, and when anonymous threats turn into public attacks, there’s only one friend she can turn to for help—her husband’s former secretary, Lord Archer Lisle. The man who witnessed her every heartache. The kind of man whose love she can only dream of …

WILL HIS LOVE SAVE HER?

The youngest of the Duke of Pemberton’s five sons, Lord Archer Lisle is used to waiting his turn. For years, he could only stand by, seething, as Perdita suffered at the hands of her husband, but now she’s under threat from another source—one who will stop at nothing to make her pay for the late duke’s death. But the good-natured Archer can be dangerous when crossed—and he’ll do anything to keep the woman he’s adored for so long safe in his arms…

**

Archer has been in love with Perdita for several years. Perdita, now a widow, is recovering from an abusive marriage and although she contemplates remarrying she does not want a man who is in anyway controlling. Thus she holds our hero at arms length and makes some stubborn decisions not in her best interest. Archer and Perdita’s friends try to persuade her to think of her own safety when threats are made against her from an unkown source.

This was a good romance and mystery and, unlike in the first two books of the trilogy, the mystery is solved. Unfortunately for me I came in to the series on this the third book. I have to admit that although there was quite a bit of background given, I still felt that I would have enjoyed this book more if I had read the first two books of the trilogy.

Wicked Widows Trilogy

  1. Why Dukes Say I Do
  2. Why Earls Fall in Love
  3. Why Lords Lose Their Hearts

P.S.- For the entire time I was reading this novel the heroine’s name, Perdita, kept me envisioning Pongo and Perdita of One Hundred and One Dalmations. It did make me slightly distracted. Authors should be very careful how they name their characters. Another pet peeve of mine is when several main characters all have similar sounding or confusing names; such as David Stevenson and Steven Donaldson or Lord Tomlin, Tomasina and Tomasina’s best friend, Tammy. Well you get my drift.

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