Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Much Ado About Jack by Christy English

This book is third in the "Shakespeare in Love" series.  Characters from the first two make an appearance in this novel.   The heroine of this novel is Angelique Beauchamp, the widowed Countess of Deveraux.  Angelique has vowed never to re-marry after her disastrous marriage and has no issue with taking lovers as she sees fit.  That is until she meets Captain James Montgomery.

Another well written (and hot) book by Christy English. 

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley.

Ok, on to my rant about my local library.  First, I have not read a "real" book since June, 2012 when I received my Nook.  While I love my local library and am thrilled with the great selection, I find it annoying when they purchase only one book in a series. One of the first books I read (and thoroughly enjoyed) from the library (once I figured out how the e-books part worked) was "How to Tame a Willful Wife".  When I received "Much Ado About Jack" from NetGalley, something seemed familiar, so I did some research on Goodreads.  What did I find out?  There is a second book!  SO PURCHASE THE SECOND AND THIRD BOOK ALREADY!  End of rant.

Must Love Dukes (Tricks of the Ton, #1) by Elizabeth Michels

There was never a dull moment in this book from the opening chapter to the epilogue.  I found Lillian and Devon to be delightful.  There was a cast of great supporting characters (his mother is awesome!), some nasty villains and a twist in some minor characters that I didn't expect.  This novel belongs on my e-reader shelf!

The opening of the novel is a flash back to why Lillian went to London the previous year.  She can't stop her oldest brother from selling family heirlooms to cover his gambling debts.  But, when he sells their mother's pearls and father's pocket watch, she sneaks to London to retrieve them.  She buys back the pearls but misses being able to purchase the watch.  Lillian follows the man that just bought the pocket watch to a tavern.  He introduces himself as Devon Grey and she uses the alias of Lily.  This leads them to getting drunk.  The next morning, Lillian steals the pocket watch and has to remember where her clothes are.  This leads to a flashback sex scene and to a hilarious encounter with Devon's butler. 

A year later, Lillian's father has died and her older two brothers have decided that she has outlived her usefulness and the middle brother has made a list of men for prospective husbands.  Lillian is forced to go to London.  We discover that Devon is the Duke of Thornwood and known in the Ton as the Mad Duke (as was his father before him).  The reason Devon's father was called "the Mad Duke" is somewhat addressed.  The scene where Lillian encounter's Devon's butler had me laughing.

The remainder of the novel is the interesting courtship between Lillian and Devon.  Devon is still mad that Lillian left without saying a word and now that he has found her, he is blackmailing her.  Unfortunately, Devon's targets are the men that are on the "short list" of men that Lillian's brother wants her to marry. Each man on the list is more vile than the other and Devon's revenge on them is spot on.  In the end, I loved the surprise way (involving two minor characters) that Devon gets Lillian to marry him. 

I could have found a more fitting title for the book.  "Must Love Dukes" just does not fit as well as  Loving the Mad Duke or The Mad Duke.  That being said, that was my only complaint about the book.  The next book in the "Tricks of the Ton" series is "Desperately Seeking Suzanna" and I can't wait to read it!

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Rogue's Proposal by Jennifer Haymore

Lord Lukas Hawkins is looking for his mother and Emma Curtis is looking for the man that swindled her father.  Since they are looking for the same man, she proposes they search together.  As the road trip progresses, the become friends then take the final step and become lovers.

For some reason, I just could not get interested in this book.  I can only give it two stars because I am one of those people that will not put my e-reader down until the book I am reading is done. 

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley/

The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan

Again, another great book by Courtney Milan.  I had received an ARC from NetGalley, but I purchased the book so I would have the series.  This is a series that I will go back and read again and again.

Sebastian Malheur has been friends with Violet Waterfield, the Countess of Cambury since they were young.  Simon has a very rare reputation among the Ton.  He is an educated rake.  Simon's lectures are controversial due to their theories on inherited traits.  Unfortunately, Simon is tired of giving the lectures because the theories are not his, but Violets.

The development of the characters is wonderful.  I love how Ms. Milan shows the development of her male characters as well. It isn't long before you forget Sebastian has a reputation as a rake and see him as a man in love attempting to win the affection of the woman he loves.

This was another book by Courtney Milan that I didn't put down until I was done.  Then, I was mad because I have read all of the books in The Brothers Sinister Series.  I can't wait until The Heiress Effect is released.

Five out of five stars!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Duchess War by Courtney Milan

This is the first in The Brothers Sinister Series. 

Miss Minerva Lane is doing her best to blend in with her surroundings and has done a good job until Robert Blaisdell, the Ninth Duke of Clermont arrives in town.  Robert is attempting to correct the wrongs his horrible human being of a father did. 

I loved how Robert didn't start out as the romantic hero.  As the novel progresses, we see the development of both characters.  We know Minnie is hiding a big secret.  Toward the end, there is some betrayal of Minnie by Robert.

The characters in this book are strongly written and I was on the edge of my seat as the novel unfolded.  It was pure awesome.  Again, Ms. Milan has created characters that are intelligent and stand up for their beliefs. 

The Governess Affair - Courtney Milan

Hugo Marshall is the "Fixer" for the Duke of Clermont.  The Duke of Clermont is a total ass.   The only way Hugo Marshall will get paid is if he brings the Duke of Clermont through the year in one piece.

Miss Serena Barton was a governess until the Duke of Clermont ruined her reputation.  Now, Clermont has sent his Fixer to Fix Miss Barton.

The relationship that develops between Hugo and Serena is very intense and complex.  The ending of the book is unexpected.

I was sad when the novella ended because I had wanted it to be longer, be more.

This is the prequel to "The Duchess War".  While "The Duchess War" stands on it's own, read this first because it explains a lot about the plot and underlying twists in "The Duchess War."

Five out of five stars.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

His To Possess by Opal Carew (1-6)

His to Possess by Opal Carew is a six part serial novel.  I received parts 1, 2, and 3 as an ARC from NetGalley.   Then, I received the full book from NetGalley.  I was thrilled.  I can't imagine having to wait for the other half of the book!

So, to start, the novel opens with Jessica Long looking for a job at a career fair.  She had gone to Philadelphia because she was out of work and her hot, biker, tattooed, rocker boyfriend dumped her to go on the road with his band.  While getting a cup of coffee, Jessica thinks she sees Storm, her ex boyfriend.  It turns out not to be Storm, but an older rich guy named Dane Ranier.  It is raining, so Dane offers her a ride to her hotel in his limo.  Later, Dane stalks her to the restaurant she is eating dinner in and bam, we get the first sex scene.  Dane gets one of his employees to recruit Jessica at the job fair.  Jessica gets the job and is stunned to find out that her new boss is the guy she had the hot one night stand with. 

The plot gets kind of weird when Storm returns and he is Dane's brother Rafe.  And Jessica's new BFF and roomie Melanie has a thing for Rafe who used to be her boss.  I would love to see a story about Rafe and Melanie.

I gave this book five out of five stars because it was just so darn hot.  I thought my e-reader was going to melt several times.  There are two m/m/f sex scenes toward the end of the book.  The D/s was very mild.  Jessica always referred to Dane as Sir or Mr. Ranier and once he threatened to punish her. 

The one thing that bugged me is the lack of safe sex.  Just mention digging for the foil packet or opening Dane's desk drawer to find a year supply of Magnum Condoms (ribbed for her pleasure).

I received this as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


His to Possess by Opal Carew. #3 The Perfect Storm

Part three leads off with Jessica's mom telling her that her ex boyfriend Storm is back in town and was looking for her.   Her dad gave Storm her home phone number.  This chapter has more smoking hot sex scenes with light domination thrown in.  Dane tells Jessica she can only wear stocking with garter belts and her panties must go over the garter belt.  The chapter ends with Storm finding Jessica.

Again, the one thing that keeps bothering me is the lack of safe sex.  Just mention digging for the foil packet or opening Dane's desk drawer to find a year supply of Magnum Condoms (ribbed for her pleasure).

Five out of five stars.

I received this chapter as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

His to Possess by Opal Carew #2 The Morning After

This is the second part of the serial novel "His to Possess" by Opal Carew.

Part two opens with Jessica discovering the job she has been offered is to Dane Ranier, the man she had a one night stand with and left her hotel room before he woke up.  Jessica needs this job.  She can't go back to her small town because there isn't any jobs there.  Her musician boyfriend Storm dumped her to go on the road with his band.  There is something about the guy she had the one night stand (and now her new boss) of her boyfriend Storm.

In this chapter we find out more about Melanie, the woman who Dane Ranier used to recruit Jessica for his company.  Melanie needs a roommate and offers the spot to Jessica.  Melanie has a huge crush on her former boss, Rafe Ranier, Dane's younger brother.

Jessica has to figure out what she wants from Dane.  She decides she just wants the hot sex with a splash of submission.  This isn't full D/s, but Dane has a dominant side.

The sex scenes are so smoking hot that my poor e-reader almost melted!  The not thing that bothered me was the lack of safe sex.

Again five out of five stars.

I received this chapter as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

His To Possess by Opal Carew #1 The Seduction

His to Possess is a five part serial novel by Opal Carew.  The first two are being released December 24 and the remainder once a week through January 21st.  (This is a warning for those that like to complain.)

Part one opens up with Jessica Long attempting to get a job by attending a career fair in Philadelphia.    She is sitting at the window of a coffee shop when she sees a guy that resembles her ex boyfriend Storm.  Jessica runs after him and it isn't Storm, but almost an older version of her.   Drew Ranier gives her lift to her hotel to save her from getting a cab in the rain.

That is where I am leaving the description of the book because I don't want to give too much away.  This is the second book by Opal Carew that I have read.  I thought my e-reader was going to melt the first section was so hot.

I give the first chapter five out of five.

I received this chapter as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Led Astray By A Rake - Sara Bennett

Wow!  I did not put this book down until I was done.  There is one HUGE plot twist that I thought I had figured out, but I was totally wrong!

Miss Olivia Monteith has just completed Miss Debenham's Finishing School.  She is part of the "Husband Hunters Club".  Each girl in the Club believes that the only husband worth having is one she has hunted herself.  Olivia announces in the last meeting that she is going to marry Lord Dominic (Wicked Nic) Lacey.  Olivia has known Wicked Nic all of her life.  He had told her that he would marry her years ago.  After leading Wicked Nic on a merry chase, Olivia finally gets the man she fell in love with years ago, not the brooding man he has turned into.  During the chase, Olivia's mother wants her to marry one of the local landed gentry, a Mr. Garsed.  That brings some suspense with Mr. Garsed's crazy brother. 

There are some fantastic supporting characters in this novel.  Nic's manservant, Abbot is in love with Olivia's maid Estelle.  Then there is the issue with Olivia's sister, Sarah. 

I found this book thoroughly enjoyable and am looking forward to reading the others in The Husband Hunter's Club series.

Five out of Five stars!

The Wylder Trilogy by Isabella Bradford

I just finished reading the last in the "Wylder" trilogy by Isabella Bradford.  The only way I can describe or review them is together.  This is one group of books that must be read in order.  (I had checked out "When the Duchess Said Yes" first and it felt like I was the only one not in on the plot.)

Book One - When You Wish Upon A Duke - four out of five stars
Lady Charlotte Wylder has just turned 18 and her mother announced that her deceased father (an Earl) had an arranged marriage set for her.  She is to marry James FitzCharles, Duke of Marchbourne.  March meets his bride to be and is just crazy about her.  He sends he dragon of an Aunt and the workers at the dressmaker's out of the room so he can "talk" to her.  However, once they are married, March feels that he has to treat his wife as a lady in the bedroom and Charlotte (having been raised in the country) won't have anything to do with it.  It takes him a while, but March is finally able to understand that it is OK to enjoy his wife.

Book Two - When The Duchess Said Yes - four out of five stars
The second Wylder sister also has an arranged marriage.  Lady Elizabeth (or Lizzy as she prefers to be called) has an arranged marriage with one of March's cousin, the Duke of Hawkesworth.  Hawk's main goal is to get married to Lizzy (because he will loose all of his money if he doesn't), get her pregnant then return to Naples.  Hawk sees a beautiful woman at the opera and is attempting to find out who she is even before he meets his intended bride.  He is stunned to find out that his mystery woman isn't a courtesan but his intended.  Hawk and Lizzy fall in love.

Book Three - When The Duke Found Love - three out of five stars (due to feeling rushed)
The last Wylder sister, Diana, didn't have an arranged marriage set by her father because he died before he could arrange it.  Diana's family want her to marry boring Lord Crump and stay away from the last Duke cousin, the Duke of Sheffield.  Sheffield has caused a scandal with a married lady in France and the King wants him to marry Lady Enid Lattimore.  However, Lady Enid is deeply in love with Dr. Joshua Pullings, her brother's former tutor and a minister.  Diana's family doesn't want her to associate with Sheffield, but she accidently meets him at the park.  Diana is supposed to be the "wild" one of the Wylder sisters.  I found her to be a spineless wimp.  She doesn't stand up for herself and settles for a loveless marriage by getting engaged to Lord Crump.  When Lord Crump is called away on business for the crown (nothing thrilling, just inspecting mines), Diana agrees to move up the wedding date.  After Sheffield helps Pullings and Lady Enid elope, he is busted by his older cousin as having arranged the elopement.  Sheffield finally convinces Diana to marry him and they elope. 

I felt that this book was thrown together and not as developed as the other two.  It was like the author was meeting a deadline.  The worst part was the rushed and not completed ending.  When March catches up with Sheffield and Diana at an inn (after they are married), there is a reference to a loud, amorous couple in the room next door.  It turns out that it is the widowed Lady Wylder and the eldest of the Duke cousins.

While I enjoyed reading the Wylder books, there were some annoying things.  All of the Dukes have the same great-whatever grandfather, a King of England (it is never said whom the King is) and one of his four mistresses that he gave the title of Duchess to.  All of the Dukes use a shortened form of their title:  Marchbourne is March, Hawkesworth is Hawk. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Wicked Pursuit - Isabella Bradford

What a way to discover that the lady you thought you wanted to marry was shallow!  Charles Fitzroy, the fourth Earl of Hargrave or Harry to friends and family has been dancing attendance on the beautiful Honorable Miss Julia Wetherby throughout the Season in London.  Miss Julia decides to play coy and goes to her father's country home in Norfolk.  As soon as she leaves London, Lord Harry, who is the son of a Duke, decides she is the one that he wants to be his Countess and goes after her.  When he arrives, her father is having a hunt dinner and he can't get her attention.  Poor Harry, you failed to see the hints that Julia's brother threw at you.  Julia is very shallow and will not make you happy.  Harry is intent on getting her alone so he can propose to her.  Julia suggests they go for a ride the next day.  When they go to the stables, Harry is given her father's brute of a horse to ride.  Two grooms are having to lead him out.  Again, Harry, pay attention!  Don't be a fool and ask for a different horse.  Oops, you didn't!   And Miss Wetherby is playing the tease and riding out ahead of you.  Miss Wetherby proves herself an idiot by jumping out in front of Harry's mound causing the horse to bolt and throw Harry.  Miss Wetherby can't take responsibility for her actions and runs to get her sister Augusta or Gus.  Augusta is everything Her half-sister Julia isn't.  Smart, caring and attentive to the severely injured Harry.  She is at Harry's side during his recovery.  Harry slowly learns the lesson that beauty is only skin deep and it is the character of the soul that is important.

I enjoyed this book thoroughly.  Having the sister that was plainer get the attention and undying love of Harry was great.  I wanted to reach into the book and grab Julia several times.  Harry made the best choice in Gus.

Five out of Five stars

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher.  Thank you!