Sunday, August 24, 2014

Lord Savage by Mia Gabriel

Lord Savage is the historical (set in 1907) version of "Fifty Shades of Grey".  Evelyn Hart is at the end of her mourning and her father wants her to marry again.  Her first marriage was a business alliance set by her father and she wants to have fun before she has to enter another loveless marriage.  In London, Evelyn meets Lord Savage and is set up as his Innocent and he her Dom.

I am not a big fan of reading erotic/BDSM in the first person.  Yet, set in the Victorian period, it worked.  This is the first in a series and I hope the next picks up where this left off.  My only frustration was I can't find an author website to track when the next book will be published.

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

What a Duke Desires by Anna Campbell

Camden Rothermere, Marquess of Pembridge, has known Penelope Thorne since childhood.  She is one of the few girls that he felt comfortable around.  When he proposes to her, he is shocked that she questions why he wants to marry her.  After all, the Thornes have a reputation for trouble and what girl in her right mind would say no when she could be the Duchess of Sedgemoor?  When Penelope says no, she leaves with her aunt on a tour of Europe.  Nine years later, Penelope and Camden are reunited when Camden promises her brother on his death bed to see Penelope safely to England.

On their return to England, Pen and Cam encounter every type of obstacle imaginable. They are finally forced to marry to save Pen's reputation when the yacht they are on sinks and the local magistrate is a minor lord that Cam knows assumes they are married.

I loved how Camden had to finally realize that he loved Penelope and would do anything to keep her.  Penelope needed that unconditional love.  This was a great read from beginning to end.

The Laird by Grace Burrowes

After ten years of being away from his family home, Michael Brodie has finally come home to the bride he married and left the next morning.  During his absence, Brenna MacLogan Brodie has had to hold the clan together and grow up (they were married when she was sixteen) and still deal with clan members that hated her. 

If my fairy godmother were to appear and tell me I could pick two authors and purchase every one of their novels at B&N I would pick Grace Burrowes and Karen Marie Moning.  I started reading Grace Burrowes books when I got "The Captive" as an ARC and loved it.  I read "The Traitor" and wished I was Millie.  I have been reading Ms. Burrowes other books that my library has as ebooks when they are available and have loved them too.  I find her novels are as her website says "Beautiful Love Stories, Beautifully Told."

That being said, I had the hardest time reading this book and have rewritten this review several times. 

Let me start with what I loved about the book.  I loved Michael Brodie.  I noticed him in “The Traitor” and was thrilled that he got his own story.  After ten years at war, and much of it behind enemy lines, Michael is finally able to return to his beloved Highland home and the bride he left.  The reader gets the feeling that Michael was given a mission by the British government to surrender to the French side to protect Sebastian St. Clair. 

I loved that Michael didn’t come home and immediately ravage his wife.  He took time, understanding and patience to seduce her, to build her trust and help her emotional wounds heal.  I loved the strong character of Brenna Brodie.  A young girl left on her own to take care of a castle after her mother-in-law left and after her father-in-law died.  She is strong enough to take care of her clan.  I loved that Brenna let Michael seduce her and let him help her heal.  I was thrilled when Sebastian and Millie came for a visit toward the end of the novel. 

There were parts of this novel that upset me and I had a very hard time reading.  Michael’s uncle Angus was a pedophile that had abused Brenna until she “developed” and other children in the area.  After Michael’s dad died, Angus took his revenge on Brenna by making the villagers hate her. 

Toward the end of the novel, Michael has started to realize that the villagers hate Brenna and Angus has done something to her.  When Angus goes to Aberdeen to visit a brothel that specializes in young children, Michael and Brenna’s cousin Hugh search Angus’s house.  They find proof of what Angus has done over the years and the leather satchel contained the money that Angus stole, blaming Brenna and her cousins.  Michael confronts Angus at the start of the celebration for his homecoming.

I hated how much of a part Angus was to this novel.  I wish that Michael could have figured things out more toward the middle of the novel and confronted Angus earlier so the remainder of the novel be about healing.  I have worked with children that have been abused and this was very upsetting to me.  I found that it detracted from what could have been a very wonderful book if dealt with earlier.  I wish that the villagers had had the opportunity to apologize to Brenna for how they treated her.  Angus had stolen every letter that Brenna and Michael wrote each other.   I wish that once they were discovered that Michael and Brenna could have read what they wrote to each other as part of the healing process.  I also wish that we could have seen more of the romance between Hugh and Elspeth.  I wish that we could have spent more time with Sebastian and Millie.

Even after what I hated about the book, I still thought that it was well written.  I loved the main characters.  I just wish some things were different.

I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, for an honest review.  Thank you very much for the privilege of reading this novel.

Not Quite a Wife (Lost Lords #6) by Mary Jo Putney

James, Lord Kirkland is in Bristol on business when he suffers a malaria attack and is attacked and robbed.  He is brought to the local infirmary run by Laurel Herbert.  Laurel Herbert is the wife that left him ten years ago. 

James and Laurel met through her brother, Daniel.  Daniel had been sent to the Westerfield Academy due to being deemed too religious by his parents. They met when Daniel invited James to visit his home.  After proposing to her the night they met, they are married three weeks later when Laurel turned eighteen.  They spend the next year traveling to James’s various properties and holdings.  When they finally reach London, James’ spy business intrudes on their bliss.  He is almost attacked in his study and kills the assassin as Laurel watches.  Horrified, she leaves her husband and seeks refuge with her parents.  Her parents tell her that her place is with her husband.
Ten years later, Daniel is now an ordained minister and physician.  Daniel and Laurel set up an infirmary and a mission to help the poor in Bristol.  Because James had had two malaria attacks during their year marriage, Laurel knows what will happen and what to do.  During the fever, James and Laurel make love.  And, of course, Laurel ends up pregnant. 
They reunite for the sake of the child.  But, not before Laurel attracts the attention of a local evil ship owner by rescuing the Jamaican slave he has just bought and is attempting to take on his ship. 

“Not Quite a Wife” is part of the “Lost Lords” series.  There are parts about this novel that I really liked and parts that I really hated to the point that I had to put it down and read something else.  I liked James.  He has been in the other “Lost Lords” as the spy master and I was thrilled to see that he got his own book.  I did not like Laurel.  She was married to the man for a year.  She knew what he did.  When he is being attacked and she yells for him to look out what does she expect James to do?  Not defend himself, tell the bad guy to stop?  Laurel at some points was just too much of a prig.  There was just too much of the religious in this book for my cup of tea.  I hope if Daniel gets his own book that it is toned down. 
After reading this novel, I have to give it 3.5 stars because I should not dislike a heroine as much as I disliked Laurel in parts of this novel. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The de Valery Code by Darcy Burke

Margery Derrington and her aunts are facing poverty and desperatley search their meager house from top to bottom when they find a rare medieval manuscript.  They contact Rhys Bowen to sell the manuscript.

This begins a great romance with secrets and a mystery.  It was a very enjoyable read.

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

Kidnapping The Brazilian Tycoon by Carmen Falcone

Addison Reed's fiance has been killed and she will do anything to protect his interest in an indigenous tribe in Brazil.  However, Brazilian tycoon, Bruno Duarte, owns the plot of land the tribe lives on and is intent on selling it.  Addison kidnaps Bruno to blackmail him in helping the tribe get more time to relocate.  Bruno realizes that he needs Addison to make his dying father happy, he negotiates with her to marry him in exchange for relocating the tribe.

I loved Addison's determination and how devoted she was to her friends.  Bruno was a smoking hot self made man that had a troubled past.  The chemistry between Addison and Bruno started as tense but ended up as white hot. Just loved it.

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

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Geek Billionaire Makeover (a Sexy in Seattle novel) by Theresa Meyers

Image consultant Caroline Parker is has been out for revenge against Joshua Martin since she was in high school.  Josh has had the hots for her since high school when he was her younger brother's best friend.  Caroline always thought he was just one of her brother's geek friends and wanted revenge because she believes that he wrote a letter to her father causing her to be sent to a military style boarding school in another country.  Also, she feels that Josh robbed her brother of his share of his company as an original founder.  Now, Josh is the CEO of Aeon Industries and needs Caroline to bring him from geek to GQ so he can get funding for his project.  Caroline is being blackmailed by Mr. X.  He demands that Caroline be Josh's image consultant and get the plans for his latest project or he will frame her brother for murder.

While I liked the book, there were just way too many times that I was left scratching my head and was looking to fill in some continuity issues in the book.  There was more was more of an explanation as to why Josh hates crowds than for some of the major plot lines in the book.

1.  The whole blackmail thing seems to be a major part of the plot, after all, that is why Caroline got herself hired as Josh's image consultant.  Yet, it is wrapped up very offhandedly.  And Josh didn't seem bothered about the woman he has fantasized over attempting to blackmail her.

2.  The other thing a reader needs to get around is Caroline's fixation on her brother being left out of the company.  Throughout the novel, until the last chapter, there are references:  "This all could have been Connor's - at least a third of it."   There was a sentence from Josh's perspective of how there was a "secret" account that he had.  The reader has to assume that he has been putting one third of the profits into the "secret" account for her brother.  At the end of the book, he is called up on stage at Comic-Con to be introduced.  Was he back with the company?  We will never know.

3.  There was a lot of continuity problems with Caroline and this military school in a "foreign" country".  One page mentions that Josh was a sophomore and she was a senior.  Another page said she was sent to boarding school at sixteen.  Another page said she was sent to boarding school in Eastern Europe April of her Junior year. So, how old was she and was it boarding school or military school.  What military man would send his child to a school (no matter what type) in EASTERN former Communist block countries EUROPE.

4. So much of Caroline's issues revolve around her father.  Is he alive?  In the first chapter, there is a mention of thinking that the person could be calling about her father being in trouble at the VA hospital.  There are other vague references to him but nothing about present day and why he is at the VA.

So, what could have been a great book ended up with an editor failing to catch some glaring continuity issues.

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

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Highlander's Obsession by Vonnie Davis

I didn't know why I requested "A Highlander's Obsession" from NetGalley.  I rarely read contemporary and when I do, they are "traditional" romances, not "shape shifter" romances.  The cover was incredibly hot, so I decided to give it a go.  Boy, was I glad I did.  I thought my e-reader was going to melt from the hot Highlanders!

Effie Iverson Munro has received an inheritance from a in Scotland and is taking her beloved granddaughter, Paisley Munro with her.  Paisley is a vet tech that has the unusual ability of being an animal communicator.  Which is helpful because Creighton Matheson and part of his clan are shape-shifters.

With Effie inheriting her uncle's estate, the shape-shifters are worried that she is going to threaten the land and the rumors start flying making Creighton hesitant to trust Paisley.

This book was humorous and passionate from beginning to end.  Paisley developed from a woman leary of others due to her parents rejection and her fiancee using her as a money-maker to a confident woman secure in the love of Creighton.  The supporting characters were more than background decoration.  I can not wait for Creighton's brothers to have their own novels.

This is definitely a must buy book!

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

Love Is by Kate Pearce, Marie Hall, Zoe York and others

"Love Is" is an anthology of forty novellas from Historical Romance to Contemporary to Science Fiction.  The novellas are grouped by category and each one is given a "Heal Level" from 1 lip to 5 lips.

I liked the quick style of the novellas.  I found new authors and some new books to read.  This is a book that I will pull up on my e-reader when I don't have time for a full length novel, but need something quick to read.

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

The Wager (a Sisters of Scandal Novella) by Lily Maxton

Anne Middleton doesn't follow society's rules.  She has a wager with her sister that their host has Confessions of a Courtesan and is searching his library when she is caught by Michael Grey, the Earl of Thornhill.  Thornhill once courted and had proposed to Anne's widowed sister.  Anne writes a letter of apology to Thornhill and this begins a friendship through letters revolving around their discussion of the novel.

I liked the uniqueness of the letters that Michael and Anne exchanged in the beginning of the book.  They were able to develop a relationship that Anne would not have normally allowed because he had courted her sister a year ago and she didn't want to be compared to her sister.  There is a desire between them that the letters brought out.  Michael tempts Anne through a wager and takes their relationship from paper into the physical.

This was a great novella.  I enjoyed reading it and the first in the series.

I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you.

The Irresistible Miss Peppiwell (a Scandalous House of Claydon novel) by Stacy Reid

The Honorable Lord Anthony Thornton is searching for a new mistress when he sees Phillipa Peppiwell at a ball and is enchanted with her beauty.  When he seeks an introduction, Phillipa attempts to shut him down until her obsessively unwanted "suitor" Lord Orwell demands a dance.  Anthony saves her by telling Orwell she had promised him the current waltz and whisks her away.  While Anthony is struggling to fight his attraction to Phillipa (he has been rejected by other ladies of the Ton due to his highly amorous nature) he also pursues Lady Jocelyn Rathbourne.  Phillipa is also being courted by Lord Hoyt but she is holding back accepting his proposal due to the scandal in her past.  When the secret that Anthony has been withholding is made public, their future is at risk.

I will have to admit that I liked the characters of Anthony and Phillipa.  I understood why Phillipa didn't want to marry and why she was cautious around Anthony.  The family relationships between Anthony and his siblings and parents were well written.  However, I disliked Phillipa's mother and aunt.  They only thought of their reputation not how Phillipa felt.  Her sister didn't deserve to marry her beau.  She only thought of how Phillipa's marriage to Anthony would affect her marriage chances.

This is the second book by Stacy Reid that I have read.  It runs concurrent with "The Duke's Shotgun Wedding" and explains what Anthony did that caused the Duke to marry.  (If you haven't bought it, DO IT NOW!  It was awesome!)  Both of the books are steamy hot!  I enjoy Ms. Reid's novellas because it isn't plot buried among sex scenes.  The sex scenes are well written as part of the plot.

She calls them "novellas" but I hate that word.  To me, it is synonymous with stories stuffed in an anthology that I am left wondering where the remainder of the story is.  Stacy Reid has NOVELLAS.  There is a beginning, middle with a conflict, and an end with conflict resolution and HEA.  The characters are not flat like "novellas".  There is true character development.  Her books are ones that I will read over and over while I am waiting for the next one in the series.

I received this novella as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you very much!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Winter Wedding by Amanda Forester

James Lockton, the Duke of Marchford knows he has to marry and requires a suitable bride, but most of his time is taken up catching spies for the Foreign Office.  He has figured out that his Grandmother and her companion, Penelope Rose, are the infamous matchmaker Madam X and has given her an ultimatum:  find him a wife or marry him herself.

I noticed Marchford in "A Midsummer Bride" when he was an awesome supporting character and had hoped he would get his own novel.  Penelope started falling in love with him and Marchford was just starting to notice her for her intellect and recognize she was able to assist him with exposing French Spies.  This novel opens with intrigue.  Marchford is chancing the man in England behind the French spies and needs Penelope's help.

It is unfair to call the other characters beyond the Hero and Heroine "secondary".  They are not afterthoughts, but well drawn and like able characters.  The Dowager is the perfect grandmother, loving and just a touch eccentric.  She adds spice by being in love with the Earl of Langley and planning her own wedding!

Again, Amanda Forester gave readers a well written novel.  This is the third in a series and it was so well written that a reader could pick it up first and not feel like they needed to read the previous two before they could read it.

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