Sunday, December 21, 2014

His Saving Grace by Sharon Cullen

Ten months ago, Lady Grace Ashworth's husband was reported killed in battle.  Her husband's brother, the new Earl and his wife immediately swept her out of the house to the dowager house.  Now, her brother-in-law has arranged marriage for her with a neighbor that started visiting after her husband died.  Grace does not want to remarry because she loved her husband so much but she hates living in the dilapidated dowager house alone so she will agree to the match.  The day after, a carriage pulls up to the dowager house and her husband climbs out.  He is not the same man due to a brain injury he received.  Michael only wants the best for Grace and attempts to drive her away from him.  

The struggles they have while learning how to work with Michael's injury are poignant and the reader feels great empathy toward Grace.  The struggles that Michael goes through to find happiness with the man he is now are beautifully written.  The flash backs helped establish how Michael and Grace met and what their relationship was like before he went to war.  I was hoping for a bigger blow out when Michael returned to the manor house with the sister-in-law.  I only wish their HEA could have included the children Grace wanted.

This was a wonderful novel.  I thought that the cover of the book was hotter that the contents.  And, that was fine.  Every once in a while, I want to read a book that makes me think and every other page isn't sex.  

Off topic of the content of the novel, I wonder why the editors don't go onto Goodreads when the are thinking about a title and see how many other novels have the same title?!  When I searched, this was the fifth "His Saving Grace" I found.  

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

I've Got My Duke to Keep Me Warm by Kelly Bowen

Gisele Whitby and her step-daughter escaped her abusive husband by "dying" in a fiery barge explosion.  Now, her husband, Adam Valence, is getting married to a young woman that looks remarkably like Gisele and Gisele will stop at nothing to save an innocent girl from his abuse.

On her way to London, she finds Jamie Montcrief at a tavern and when he performs a heroic dead, Gisele realizes he is the one to help her.  Jamie Montcrief is a former Cavalry officer and the bastard son of a Duke.  He is perfect for the rescue mission.  

There was just the right balance of intrigue, romance and eccentric characters to make this a fun book to read.  I felt sympathy for Gisele and loved the creative ways she saved other victims of spousal abuse.  The way she got back at her husband was awesome.  Jamie is the perfect wounded hero in need of a good woman.  It was an unusual twist with the battered wife who is still married and the hero attempting to seduce her.  
I loved this novel.

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

Monday, December 8, 2014

How to Beguile a Duke by Ally Broadfield

Catherine Malboeuf has traveled to England from New Orleans to reclaim her ancestral home, Walsley Manor, for her mother.  She is after her great-grandmother's journal that gives hints to the location of a tiara that was rumored to have once belonged to the Empress Elizabeth of Russia.  She finds that the Nicholas Adair, Duke of Boulstridge has bought the house and restored it..  She offers to buy the Manor and Nick refuses.  Then Nick proposes a wager:  if she secures the an offer of marriage from a member of the Ton, he will sell her Walsley Manor.  Nick doesn't think that a woman that wears breaches under her skirt with a cutlass tucked into them will have a chance.  Little does he know, Catherine's mother still has friends in England.

I liked that Catherine wasn't the typical Ton miss.  She wears breaches under her skirt and her father is a French pirate (wrongly accused).  Nick is a typical stuffy aristocrat until he meets Catherine.  I loved the slow build up until they reached their HEA.

I can't wait to read more from this author!

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

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dare to Love by Alleigh Burrows

Nivea Horsham has loved her brothers best friend, Adair Landis for fifteen years.  Adair is taking Nivea to her family's estate where her younger sister is getting married.  While in the first hours of their journey, the coach hits a ditch and the axle breaks.  Landis decides to unhitch the horses and ride to Vincent Hall.  This requires Nivea to also ride.  Her family is horse obsessed and Nivea hates riding.  Because she wants to attend the wedding, she is forced to ride.  When they get to her family's estate, she has lost quite a bit of weight due to the exercise and has also gained confidence.  After Nivea's maid alters her gowns, Landis starts to really notice her.  He ends up seducing her and thoroughly breaking her heart when he calls her a whore after her closest male (and married) friend invites her to lunch.  In London, Dare returns to his man-whore ways and slowly comes to realize that he needs Nivea to complete him.  He only acts when his father who is on his death bed signs a contract for Dare to marry the neighbor.

I am of two minds about this novel.  I liked the quick witted writing and thought the ending was great.  While Nivea starts off as an plump wallflower that is invisible to her brother's arrogant friend, she grows into a desirable confident woman as she loses more weight.  She is able to deal with Dare seducing her then dumping her.

On the other side, there were things throughout the novel that I got annoyed about. I did not like the character of Dare until almost the end and found him exactly as how the book described him:  arrogant and supercilious and even shallow.  There were many times that I wanted to reach in and just smack Dare and yell at Nivea that she could do much better that a man-whore.

I was totally surprised to find out that this is the authors first novel and this isn't the last in a series.   There are many places in the book where it reads like the author is reminding the readers of events that took place in past novels.  One big pet peeve is the form of address for Nivea.  As her father is the Earl of Cheltenham, she is not "Miss Horsham" but "Lady Nivea".  And the cover!  Dare had been abused by his father and had horrible scars on his back.  He would only have sex with women if he didn't expose his back.  The guy on the cover needs a shirt.

On a side note, I searched the title to leave my review on Goodreads.  Do editors check to see how many other books have the same title?  I had to search by the author's name to find the title.

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

Duke of Thorns by Sara Ramsey

Callista Briarley wants a home of her own.  Her father is gone and she has survived a battle at sea so she could go to her father's ancestral home in England so she could claim it as her own.  She is in a contest with two of her female cousins to make the best match and inherit the estate.

Gavin Emmerson-Fairhurst, the Duke of Thorington, is cursed.   His fortunes have been reversed due to his shipping investments and now he needs to secure an heiress for his younger brother and husbands for his sisters.

Thorington attempts to teach Callista the ways of Society so she will be a match for his brother Anthony.  Only they didn't count on falling in love.

This is the first book in The Heiress Games.  I thoroughly enjoyed the strong characters of Callie and Thorington.  They are not the typical Hero and Heroine.  She runs her own "shipping" business and he has been married, widowed, and attempted to steal a bride.  The sparks fly between them.  I liked that while this is the first in this series, some of the characters that were in the earlier books are in this series, and it doesn't read like you are missing things.  It flowed well.  

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