Sunday, November 30, 2014

Master of Pleasure (School of Gallantry, #5) by Delilah Marvelle

Leona Webster allowed herself to fall in love with a childhood friend who broke off their engagement to further his career as a pianist. She was left alone and pregnant.  Now, her only focus is on raising her young son.  

Malcolm Thayer, the Earl of Brayton was sent to a monastery at age 18 after he was accused of impregnating the bishop's daughter (he only kissed  her).  As he is approaching the end of his term at the monastery, he saves the life of Nasser, a Persian Prince, who rescues him from another year.  Malcolm's only issue is enjoying pain.  

Some ten years later in England, Malcolm rescues Leona from a creditor and offers her a job as long as he remains in England.  This leads to an unusual romance between Malcolm and Leona.

This is the second in the series that I have read.  I liked that they tie together, but they still stand alone.  Malcolm was quiet a different hero.  He wasn't a rake, but a virgin that knew he was waiting for the right woman to bring him the right amount of pain.  Leona is struggling to make ends meet and also escape notice of her son's father.  This book had it all, erotica, a tortured hero, and a strong heroine. 

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  After realizing that the book had just been published and Delilah Marvelle offers her books for .99 cents during the first few days of release, I bought it.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Earl's Defiant Wallflower (The Dukes of War #1) by Erica Ridley

Grace Halton's mother is sick and in need of medical attention so Grace goes to England to claim her dowry from her grandparents.  She plans to return to America and take care of her mother once she gets the dowry.  However, her grandparents have told her they will only release the money to her husband.  And, because she is an American and her grandparent's money carries the taint of (gasp) trade, she is being given the cut direct by English Society.  (Even her lady's maid her grandmother assigned to her disappears as soon as they hit the door to a ball.)  The only men she is attracting are the rakes and men without a good reputation.

Lord Oliver York has returned to England from war.  His father had never intended for Oliver to inherit the earldom so he meticulously plotted to bankrupt the estate because he thought Oliver was going to die in the war.  Now, Oliver needs a wealthy heiress to salvage his estate.

Oliver sees Grace across a crowded ballroom and immediately seeks a dance.  This leads to a surge in Grace's popularity and there is the possibility of  potential suitor until Oliver spoils it.

This is technically the first in the Dukes of War series about four friends who left for war and only three of them returned.  I thoroughly enjoyed .5 and found this one just as well written and enjoyable.  Even the secondary characters had had depth and were thought out.  (Mr. Downing needs a HEA too!)  I kept hoping that Grace's grandparents would redeem themselves (the didn't believe their daughter was sick and were quite mean to Grace) and they did in the end.  (I will admit that I wanted to smack the maid that ditched Grace at every society function instead of doing her job.)   I enjoyed this book so much, that I will be buying it when it is released.

I know that there are only four books in this series.  PLEASE, PLEASE have a 4.5 for the Duke of Ravenwood and Sarah Fairfax.

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

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Tall, Dark and Royal by Vanessa Kelly

Dominic was a butcher's son then raised at court.  While at court, he meets Chloe Steele and becomes devoted to her.  Chloe was seduced by a Prince and got pregnant.  Now, years later, she has been reunited with her son and Dominic.  She is in danger due to angering the ex-fiancee of a girl she is protecting at her safe house.

I have only read one of The Renegade Royals series and found that this book is not a stand-alone.  It is the back story for Dominic, the man in charge of gathering the royal bastards.  It is well written, but as I said, if you haven't read the series, it is hard to follow.

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

His Wicked Seduction: League of Rogues, Book 2 by Lauren Smith

Horatia Sheridan has loved her brother's friend, Lucien Russell, the Marquess of Rochester, since she was fourteen.  Lucien had pulled her from the coach wreck that had killed her parents.  However, Lucien has buried his feelings for Horatia because "League Rule 2" is "one must never seduce another member's sister."  When Lucien was at Cambridge, he formed The League of Rogues with four other men:  Cedric, Viscount Sheridan (and Horatia's brother), Godrick, Charles and Ashton.  Throughout the book, there are various hints that something happened at Cambridge with Hugo Waverly.  As the novel opens, Horatia is shopping with a footman an Lucien and Charles are following her.  A coach that was shadowing Lucien suddenly attempts to run him over as Lucien is approaching Horatia.  Lucien pushes her out of the way.  This seems to spark the feelings that he has buried.  When the League decides to keep Cedric and his sisters safe, they send them to Lucien's estate.

I thought this novel stood out from the rest of the genre.  To start, Lucien is into dominance and tying up his lovers.  Horatia lays her feelings for Lucien out and he didn't immediately reciprocate and there is the HEA.  Lucien had to work for his HEA.  There were also times that I forgot who the main characters were because the supporting characters were so well written.  The scene between Ashton and Lady Melbourne should be in it's own book.  I know that this series is "League of Rogues", but I really would like to see a series on Lucien's siblings.  I liked how the reader only gets hints of why Waverly wants revenge.  It is something that will be disclosed novel after novel and not repeated each time to "catch up" the reader.

I received this novel as an ARC from NetGalley.  I will be purchasing this novel and the first League of Rogues novel.

As said, I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Lady Elinor's Wicked Adventures by Lillian Marek

This was a thoroughly delightful adventure that I couldn't put down.

Harcourt deVaux, Viscount Tunsbury has been best friends with Philip Tremaine, Viscount Rycote since they were children.  Harry spent all of his school vacations with Philip's family since his own was incredibly dysfunctional.  He loves Philip's sister, Lady Elinor but doesn't want the taint of his family's reputation damaging her.  Harry leaves for a four year grand tour and when he returns, the Marchioness of Penworth (Philip and Elinor's mother) insists that Harry stay with them instead of a hotel.  The Marquess is heavily involved in politics and the Marchioness sees it is upsetting him and insists they go on a tour of Europe.  They start in Paris and end up in Rome and the Italian countryside looking for Etruscan tombs.

This novel was fresh.  The hero wasn't a Duke and Elinor's father wasn't one either.  It wasn't set among the drawing rooms, ball rooms or races during the Season.  I found that the extended family trip to Italy was a wonderful backdrop.  The author even threw in some stereotypical Italian characters for comic relief.  It is quite obvious that Ms. Marek did research on the Victorian dress, the political situation in Italy (specifically Rome) and the Etruscan tombs.  Every book needs a villain or character the reader hates and this book had three!

If I had a real book shelf, this novel would go on the top shelf where I could pull it out and re-read it again and again.  I can not wait to see what is next!

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Rake by Any Other Name by Mia Marlowe

Richard Barrett, Lord Hartley, has been summoned home from Paris when his father fell from the roof.  He has already asked Lady Antonia Pruett's father for permission to ask Antonia to marry him and isn't happy to have to return to his family home.  But, what he finds is the family estate is on the verge of total ruin and his parents want him to marry heiress, Miss Sophie Goodnight.  The last place Sophie wants to be is in England.  She was raised in India where her father built a substantial fortune.  Richard's parents throw him at Sophia every chance they get.  But, as they fall in love, Lady Antonia is doing her best to make sure that she keeps Richard as hers.  Little does everyone know, but the mystery of why Lord Somerset fell from the roof is going to change their lives in a very dramatic way.

I enjoyed the spirited character of Sophie.  She made an excellent heroine because she wasn't the typical English miss looking for a title.  Richard was a noble hero that was quite likable.  The secondary characters of Richard's grandmother and the villain, Lady A. added to the liveliness of the novel.  It was an enjoyable read.

I received this novel as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Rake's Handbook: Including Field Guide by Sally Orr

The opening exchange between widowed Elinor Colton and Ross Thornbury had great potential.  Their conversation about a fig leaf on a statue could have started the build up to a steamy romance and HEA.  However, after the fig leaf situation, Elinor encounters her late husband's cousin, Mr. Browne, and their talk leads to Thornbury's plans for his estate and the need for access to hers.   It sets the tone for the remainder of the book.  This book should have been a romance.   Yet, it revolves around Thornbury wanting to build a foundry on his property and needing water access from hers.  She refuses because her cousin tells her how much smoke the foundry will belch, destroying the house her husband built for her.  The romance part comes from "The Rake's Handbook: Including Field Guide" that Ross wrote as sarcasm and people took as fact.  Yes, Ross is a Rake and quotes from the book in an attempt to seduce Elinor.  .

I was  bored with the "I need access to your land" and "Don't give him access to your land.  It will ruin our village and your home."  I was surprised that I got to the beginning of chapter nine, or 118 pages on my e-reader, before I stopped and read the ending.   The sad part is, I thought that Elinor and Ross were great characters.  It is proof that you can still have great characters and a bad book.  Unless you are a fan of the Industrial Revolution in England, DO NOT BOTHER.

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

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Shocking Secret of a Guest at the Wedding by Victoria Alexander

This book picks up just before the wedding of Camille and Grayson Elliott.  Jackson Quincy Graham Channing has discovered that his father, Colonel Basil Channing, isn't dead as his mother and grandfather have told him for the past thirty years.  Colonel Channing brings Jack to England and to his family home, Millworth Mannor.  After Camille and Grayson's wedding, he introduces his so to the family.  (They are thrilled because Basil's twin, and older brother, is he Earl and only had girls.  Now the title won't leave the family.)  Jack meets the wedding planner Lady Theodosia Winslow.  Teddy and her mother had to start an event planning business when her father left them with a large pile off debts.

I liked the characters of Teddy and Jack and the adventures they have to find their HEA.  In the previous book, I hated Delilah.  Now that she is a supporting character, I found that I liked her much better or perhaps is is the influence of Sam.  The other supporting characters, Jack's parents and his family, made this a lively book.  

I received this ARC from NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

What a Lady Demands by Ashlyn Macnamara

When Cecelia Sanford was fifteen, she was in love with her brother's friend Richard Blakewell, Viscount Lindenhurst.  Shen she saw him stripping so he could swim, her curiosity was aroused.  Eight years later, Cecelia is applying to be the governess of Lindenhurst's son.  In that eight years, Lindenhurst's world has turned upside down.  He returned from war injured and when his young son fell into the pond, he was unable to reach his wife in time to help her rescue the boy.  Cecelia has barley escaped a scandal and is being blackmailed.  She needs this job to hide.

I loved the story line of this book.  Normally, the heroines are virgins.  Cecelia isn't and she knows what she wants.  She is determined to get what she wants, Liind.  Lind is the tortured hero, now bitter about what he discovered when he returned home.  He needs Cecelia to make his life whole.  The book is sensual without being smutty and borders on erotic.  It was a quick paced read with a twist that the reader doesn't expect.

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

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Viscount's Christmas Temptation by Erica Ridley

This novella was a wonderful beginning to the Dukes of War series.

Lady Amelia Pembrook has been organizing her brother's life since she was four and managing his home since he became the Duke of Ravenwood.  The day after Christmas, she is going to turn 30 and has decided in her uber-organized world that she is going to make a list using Debrett's Peerage, barons and viscounts need not apply, and meet her choices at the Viscount Sheffield's seventy-fifth annual Christmas Eve Ball.  However, the ball has been canceled for the year since the needed ballroom was struck by lightning and is now under renovation.  Amelia invades the Viscount Sheffield's home and announces that she is going to find a new venue for the ball and plan it for him.  What she doesn't plan on is falling in love with Sheffield.

I loved the humor in the novella. After Sheffield gets over his initial shock of Amelia insisting she is going to organize his family's annual ball,  he humors her by going from location to location to find the "right" location for the ball.  The characters were well written.  The back of the novella has nice sized teaser for "The Earl's Defiant Wallflower" that shows that the quality of the novella wasn't just a one-hit-wonder.  I can't wait!

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

The Accidental Countess by Valerie Bowman

Lady Cassandra Monroe has loved Julian Swift since she was sixteen and he kissed her at her birthday party.  But, he came to her birthday party to say good bye to his intended fiancee, her cousin Penelope, and only kissed her on the forehead.  Julian is back in London after recuperating from his injuries for the past several months when he comes to Penelope's house looking for her.  Penelope has no interest in Julian and hides leading their friend Lucy Hunt to invent a house party that Penelope is going to attend and when Julian doesn't recognize Cassandra, Lucy introduces her as Patience, Penelope's pretend friend.  Julian is looking for Penelope to break off their intended engagement because he loves Cassandra.  Cassandra was the one that wrote him endless letters, giving him a reason to survive the war.  They keep up the pretense of Cass being Patience until Cass's parents crash the house party.  Julian is devastated by the betrayal of someone he loves.  Got to read the novel to find out the ending.

I will admit that at first, I felt like I was dropped into a play that was in the middle of the second act.  But, I wanted to give the novel a chance because I liked the characters.  Cass is sweet and loyal to her odd group of friends.  I thought that Lucy was a delight and I stopped reading so I could get her book, "The Unexpected Duchess".  The hero, poor Julian, just wanted to find Penelope to break it off so he could find Cass.  After I got into the novel, I found it funny and a great comedy of errors.  The only character I didn't like was Penelope.  I just wanted to throttle her.  She has to invent friends to use as pretend chaperons and excuses for not being places. 

There is a sneak peak at the next book featuring Garret Upton and his nemesis Jane Lowndens.  I can't wait!!

One thing I don't get is the title.  Throughout the novel, we know that Julian's brother, Donald, the Earl, is missing in Europe.   Julian and Cassandra aren't even married at the end.  The only tie to the title is a two paragraphs at the end of the novel.  And, when I looked up the title on Goodreads, there are three other novels with the same name.  

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