Thursday, January 30, 2014

Desperately Seeking Suzanna by Elizabeth Michaels

What a wonderful follow-up to "Must Love Dukes".  Sue Green is tired of being a wallflower.  Her mother has told her that this is her last season and she is going to go out with a bang.  She encounters Lord Holden Ellis and the steam begins. 

This book gave us more strong characters in Sue and Holden.  Again, there was a wonderful cast of supporting characters that you loved or loved to hate.  The novel was fast paced and hard to put down.  A thoroughly enjoyable read (again)!

Five amazing stars.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Fool Me Twice - Meredith Duran

I love a strong romance with strong characters.  This was a couldn't put it down, must have it in my collection and I will re-read this book!

Olivia is being chased by Lord Bertram and is seeking revenge upon him.  Her path to revenge takes her to the mansion of Alastair de Grey, Duke of Marwick.  Marwick was a brilliant politician and his whole world crumbled with the death of his first wife and her betrayals.  Olivia is hired as his housekeeper and the attraction is intense from the beginning.  Olivia stands up to Marwick even after he throws a bottle at her.  She pushes him to snap out of his despair.

The twists in this book were surprising.  I would love to tell more about the plot, but I don't want to spoil this wonderful book for anyone!

I gave it five out of five stars.  This has to be in my top five of the books I have read since Christmas.

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

Loving Lord Ash (Duchess of Love #3) - Sally MacKenzie

I love Sally MacKenzie's Duchess of Love series and Loving Lord Ash is just as funny and wonderful as the first two. 

Christopher or Kit is the Marquis of Ashton, heir to the Duke of Greycliffe.  His mother is known in society as the "Duchess of Love" due to her matchmaking hobby and the pamphlets on romance she writes.  He is in an odd situation.  As the heir to a Duke he needs an heir and he has just turned 30.  But, how do you get an heir when you have been estranged from your wife for eight years and never spent a night in her bed? 

Ash decides that he needs to do something about his need for an heir and journeys to his wife's estate.  Jessica was the head groom's daughter when he married her and growing up she was one of his best friends.  Jess was the only one who really knew him as they were growing up.

I loved his reaction when he arrived at his estate and found her in her studio painting.  Ash slowly figures out that Jessica didn't wrong him those eight years ago and in the eight years since, he has done some serious damage to her reputation.

I was cheering for Jessica and wanted her to tell Ash off for dumping her at this estate and never caring how she was doing until he decided he needed an heir.  At the same time I wanted to shake Ash and yell at him for being such an ass.  What I found tender was how he did care enough for Jessica not to sleep around the Ton.  However, I was confused as if Percy was supposed to be a villain or what.

What a wonderful novel.  I give this one five out of five stars.

I received this as an ARC from NetGalley and Kensington Books in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Midsummer Bride by Amanda Forester

I will admit that I didn't like the first book in this series and put it down half way.  I was hesitant to read this one because I didn't like the description on GoodReads.  So, when I saw it in my library's e-book collection, I took a chance and was glad I did! 

Harriet Redgrave is an American traveling by ship to New York to meet her parents.  Her dad is a Captain that served in the Revolution and her mother is the daughter of an Earl that was disowned when she eloped with the American Captain.  Harriet's ship was captured by an English warship so they could impress the sailors.  Harriet stands up for he crew and the captain of the English ship discovers that she is the granddaughter of the Earl of Langley.  The captain takes her to England and her grandfather's house.

Once Harriet is in England, her grandfather realizes the mistake he made years ago in disowning his daughter and seeks to make things right by finding a husband for Harriet. 

Her grandfather seeks the help of his lost love, the Dowager Duchess of Marchford in having the matchmaker of the Ton, Madam X, find an acceptable husband for Harriet.  They attend a house party given by Duncan Machlachlan, Earl of Thornton.  Duncan and his friend the Duke of Marchford are attempting to find the French spy in their agency.

What follows is a story of true romance.  Duncan doesn't want to marry a girl with a huge dowry because that is what his father did and he was miserable.  He is drawn to Harriet, but she has too much money.  His mother has a nasty gambling habit and owes money to General Crawley (who wants Duncan to marry his nasty daughter Priscilla).

I did not put this book down until the end.  The next book is about the Duke of Marchford and his grandmother's companion, Penelope.  I can't wait!

The Greatest Lover Ever by Christina Brooke

I found this book when I purchased something else and it was in the "Customers Also Bought" line.  I am so glad I found it.  I have read the "Ministry of Marriage" series and this book was just as fast paced and enjoyable the others.

Georgina Black has a temper to match her fiery red hair.  When her fiancée, the Earl of Beckenham, is given a lock of her hair by another man and wants to duel, she tells him if he does, the wedding is off.  Beckenham does not back down from an ultimatum and calls her bluff, breaking their long standing engagement.

Six years latter, Georgina is firmly on the shelf and needs to escort her younger half sister during her season because her step-mother is a total flake hypochondriac.  Beckenham wants to marry.  His cousin puts together a list of potential candidates and one of them is Georgina's sister!  At the end of a series of wife hunting house parties, Beckenham throws his own house party and Georgina has to be her half sister's chaperone because her step-mother has flaked again!

I loved the chase that Georgina put Beckenham through. She has matured and knows what she wants and how to get it. 

I can't wait for the next book!

Five out of Five stars!!!!!

A Kiss of Lies: The Disgraced Lords Series by Brownwen Evans

The novel opens with Christian Trent, the Earl of Markham (a member of the Libertine Scholars)finding himself in a brothel that he frequents.  He has woken with a pounding head as if he has a hangover.  He is accused of bringing a Duke's daughter to the brothel and raping her.  He escapes the brothel, but the Duke's sons find him and throw him on a ship sailing for Canada.   He arrives in York, Canada with no money and no identification.  He was taken in by Matthew Pearson and when Pearson and his wife died in a blizzard, he took their daughter, Lily as his ward.  While he was in York, Canada, the locals nicknamed him Devil Scarface due to the burns and injuries he suffered in the battle of Waterloo.  Christian is returning to England to reclaim his honor and needs a governess for Lily.

Sarah (Serena) Cooper is the daughter of the Duke of Hastings that had been in North America for two years.  She is being accused of murdering her abusive husband and has escaped the men wishing to prosecute her from Virginia to Canada.   Now, she is wants to return to England to escape them.  Sarah has loved Christian since she was 15 and watched him at a ball in the shadows at her father's house.  

Both characters are attempting to heal from their tragic pasts.  Christian is a tortured soul that is lacking in self confidence because of his scarring.  Serena is attempting to put the abuse she suffered behind her.  Serena does not see the scars, she just sees the man that Christian was and still is.  They share a true passion.

This is the first book in a series.  The connecting link is a villain that is attempting to destroy all six of the Libertine Scholars.  The men are attempting to figure out the link they all share.  I can't wait for the others!

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

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

What the Groom Wants by Jade Lee

Wendy Drew is a seamstress that is struggling to pay her debt with Demon Damon the local crime boss.  She thinks she has enough for the final payment when Damon springs additional debt on her and gets her evicted from her and her mother's apartment so he can control her more.  Radley Lyncott is a sailor that grew up with Wendy and has wanted her since he was a teenager.  Now, that his has been made Captain of his own ship, he wants to marry her.  Also, Radley is now the Duke of Bucklynde (a Welsh title) due to small pox wiping out "the ducal seat, wiping out nearly the entire family, the associated village, and a good deal of the neighboring hamlets."  He was the grandson of the disgraced third son and went from a sailor to a Duke.

To me, the book read more as a gothic romance than a Regency or Historical.  I found the plot fast and the characters well drawn out.  Wendy is an unusual heroine because she stands firm for herself and her family.  The ending was a little crazy, but all in all, I enjoyed the book.

3.5 out of five stars (I couldn't give it four because I HATED the male hero's name!)

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley.

When a Lord Needs a Lady by Jane Goodger

Katherine Wright is an American heiress bought to England by her title seeking mama.  (Kind of reminds you of Downton Abbey.)  They are in Brighton before they start a series of house parties followed by the Season.  Her mother is sick and Katherine is bored.  She borrows her maids dress and goes out to explore the area.  She is reading a letter from her sister when she is rescued from falling into the sea by Graham Spencer, Marquess of Avonleigh.  Katherine tells him she is a lady's maid and Graham introduces himself as Grey, a valet.  Katherine sneaks out of the hotel during the day and at midnight to meet Grey.

Avonleigh is known in society as the Miserable Marquess and he will marry the very first girl he smiles at.  He is broke due to some putting all of his money with one brokerage firm that goes bankrupt and now he needs to marry an heiress to save his estates.  He is all but engaged to Claudia Von Haupt.

This book had great characters.  Katherine and Graham were characters that had a depth of emotion.  I felt sorry for Graham and his situation from his crumbling estates to him having to marry a woman that he didn't want to marry but had to.  Katherine was a nice girl that just wanted to attend university.  She didn't want the title but she did fall in love with Graham and wanted him.  I felt like I was attending the house parties and was routing for Katherine.  Katherine's mother is hilarious and I felt bad for her marital situation.  Pool Claudia Von Haupt is just pure dingy. 

The only part of the book I didn't like fully was the ending.  After Graham announces his engagement to Claudia, it felt like the book was rushed especially the resolution.  After the first part being drawn out, I felt the ending could have been a little more expanded.

I am hoping Katherine's friend Marjorie and Mr. Norris get the next book!

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Bared to You by Sylvia Day

I read the reviews for “Bared to you” and was somewhat apprehensive to read it.  I absolutely hated “50 Shades of Gray” and normally don’t read books written it the first person.  I have also read the “Georgian” series and loved them, so I decided to take my chances with “Bared to You”.
Honestly, after reading this book, I don’t know what to think.  Reading it was like a roller-coaster.  There were parts that I liked (which is why I kept reading) and parts that I wanted to reach in the book and slap somebody.  And it was EVERY character from Eva and Gideon to Eva’s uber helicopter parent mom, Eva’s narcissistic bi-sexual BFF roommate, Cary and Gideon’s stalker Magdalene.
Eva is seriously emotionally damaged to sexual abuse.  If possible, Gideon is even more damaged than her.  Eva discloses her abuse to Gideon but Gideon never tells her what happened to him.  Several times, he wakes up in a nightmare.  Once, she wakes up and finds him “masturbating with shocking viciousness”.  Another time, he almost rapes her in his sleep.  He even hints at it when discussing an ex- girlfriend and calling her his “first consensual sexual experience”.

Did I mention that Gideon owns EVERTHING?  He owns the building Eva works in, her apartment building, a night club, the gym he takes her to work out in and majority share in a record label.  He even owns a vehicle that isn’t even for sale yet!  This book was written in 2012 and all through the book is “we got into the black Bentley SUV”.  Kind of impossible since Bentley’s web site says that the SUV will go on sale in 2016. (The editor and proofreader should have caught that.)

Eva’s BFF bi-sexual roommate is so overblown.  He a male model and is the only one that can do Eva’s hair.  When he doesn’t do it, she just pulls it back into a pony table.  Cary has a boyfriend and a girl he “just fucks” on the side.  When the boyfriend finds out, he stalks out on Cary.  Later, in the book there is a totally unnecessary ménage a quatre scene. Another time where Eva almost gets attacked by a participant that is high and Gideon comes to her rescue.
For all of the comparisons to “Fifty”, there is ZERO domination in this book.  It isn’t until Chapter 17 when Gideon starts with “you are a submissive”.   When I read that, I was thinking that at that point, it was kind of out of left field and too late in the book to introduce it. 
After all that, I will read the next book because I want to find out what happened with Gideon.   

The Rogue Returns by Leigh LaValle (Nottinghamshire Series #3)

Lady Helen Gladstone is desperate to find the treasure her deceased brother buried several years ago.  She has learned that her brother’s friend, Roan Grantham, is returning to England.  (Roan was the Midnight Rider and when caught he was given a three year sentence in Australia for highway robbery)  Now, he wants to find the treasure so he can start a new life.

Unfortunately, Helen’s brother, James, moved the money before he died and only left a map with clues to follow.  Now, Roan and Helen have to go on a treasure hunt to find the hidden money..

Raine is the illegitimate half-brother of Mazie Chetwyn who marries the Earl of Radford (The Runaway Countess).  It is Radford that sends Raine to Australia, but gives him a light sentence because of Mazie’s involvement. 

This was a great read.  Helen is determined to save her family and Roan has grown up since he spent time in Australia (thanks to a severe whipping that caused his back to be scarred).  I liked how the three novels (well, two novels and one novella) had interwoven characters.
I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Playing For Love at Deep Haven - by Katy Regnery

Violet Smith and Zach Aubrey were the best of friends their sophomore year at Yale from pre-orientation to that faithful October break.  He was the musical protégée and she wanted to be a poet.  Nine years latter, she is struggling from writers block with a deadline looming and he is a heavy metal song writer that needs a break to write his rock opera.  By a bizarre coincidence they end up at the same Maine vacation home.  When Zach broke  her heart, she

I loved the idea of two people that had loved each other (without acknowledging it) could find happiness.  The road to their HEA was rocky, but the ending was well worth it.

Normally, I stick with historicals and every blue moon read a contemporary.  Deep Haven was a great break from the historicals.  Zach as a twin sister, Cora, that will have her own novel in September.

Four out of five stars.

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Scandalousy Yours by Cara Elliott

Scandalously Yours was a great way to start this trilogy of books about some very uncommon and unconventional heroines. 

Olivia Sloan is the daughter of Baron Trumbull who was an explorer and shared his unusual views on how woman should be raised with his daughters.  Perhaps that is why she is known as the Hellion of High Street.  Olivia secretly writes essays for the Morning Gazette as "the Beacon".  She is hiding from her mother who wants her to dance at the ball (why bother, she had no dowry) by hiding in a small study.

John, the Earl of Wrexham needs to find a wife but escapes into a small study to hide from the match making mama's.  Wrexham is a multilayered character.  He is a former military officer and veteran of the Peninsular War and wants to make a stand in Parliament for Veteran's rights. 

Wrexham's young son, Prescott, does not like the woman his father is courting.  He and his friend Lucy have nicknamed her the Steel Corset.  Prescott has found a way to find a new mom he wants.  He sends a letter to a newspaper advertising for a new mom and when he gets a lot of responses, the one he picks is Lady Loose Screw.

I liked getting a glimpse of Olivia's sisters (each sister will have her own book) and their strong character.  I can't wait to read the next two and see what happens with Wrexham and Olivia.

I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher, Forever (Grand Central Publishing), in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Duchess in the Dark by Kate McKinley

Loved it, just loved it.  This is one of the best novella's I have read and can't wait for the other two.

Miss Daphne Hayward has been attempting to land Edward, Lord Wallingford for two years.  At the house party hosted by her sister and brother-in-law, Daphne decides to sneak into his bedroom.  Oops, Daphne snuck into the wrong bedroom and discovers snuck into the wrong room as she is sneaking out.  The next day she figures out that it was Ashton Fitzgerald, Duke of Claymore's room.  And, Daphne has hated him since she met him at her sister's wedding.

I loved how much fun James, Daphne's brother-in-law and Ashton's friend, has teasing Ashton about how to find the identity of the mystery woman.   When he discovers who his mystery woman is, Ashton has to convince Daphne to marry him.  She is still convinced that Edward is the man she wants and Edward is perfect while she hates Ashton and he is a vile seducer of women.   

This was a wonderful start to this series and I can't wait for the next two!

Five out of five stars