Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Lady Meets Her Match by Gina Conkle

The novel opens with Claire Mayhew sneaking into a masked ball given by Cyrus Ryland.  She needs his signature so she can lease one of his properties.  Cyrus finds her in his study and is attracted to her.  When she leaves behind her slipper, he has to find her.  After hiring people, he finds Claire at the coffee house she has opened.  

I just could not get into this story.  I found that it just drug along and didn't flow.  It was quite the disappointment after reading the first book in the series and liking it so much.  

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

The Duke's Holiday by Maggie Fenton

Lord Cyril Monk has been the Duke of Montford since he was four.  He was in the family carriage with his parents when they had an accident that killed them and Montford wasn't found for two days.  To say that Montford has some quirks is an understatement.  He has to have his wardrobe precise.  There is a drawer for each type of his breeches.  The one bane to his existence is the Honeywell family.  There is an agreement that the property that the Honeywell's own would revert to Montford  when there is no heir.  Montford has just found out that Aloysius Honeywell has been deceased for the past year.  He sends his man of business, Stevenage, to find out what is going on with the Honeywell Ale brewery.  After several weeks, Stevenage isn't responding to his correspondence so Montford travels to Yorkshire.  Montford's life will never be the same after he meets A. Honeywell and the Honeywell family.

This book is why I read.  At the beginning, Montford was such a stuffed shirt he needed surgery to remove a well placed stick.  By the end, he was a changed person due to Astrid.  Astrid has been keeping her family together since her father's first stroke fourteen years ago.  She is a strong woman that believes women are smarter than women.  I loved Astrid's aunt.  It would be a hoot to read a novella about Anabel Honeywell's adventures.  I will be buying this book!

My only issue with this book is the abrupt ending.  It was as if you were running and ran into a brick wall at the end of the road.  I even downloaded the Kindle edition to see if my ARC was missing pages.  

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

When a Rake Falls by Sally Orr

Lord Boyce Parker wants to regain his father's respect after he published a scandalous book.   The Earl of Stainthorpe has placed an advertisement because his daughter needs a husband.  The Earl issues the challenge of a race that ends in Paris.  There are several contests within the contest and each one has it's own cup.  Boyce hires a hot air balloon to take him to Paris so he can win the race and the challenges.  The pilot of the is Eve Mountfloy.

To be honest, I just could not get into the book.  I got to chapter two and couldn't read further.  I found Boyce to be an arrogant idiot and stopped reading.

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

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Barely a Lady by Eileen Dreyer

Olivia Grace has been abandoned and disgraced by the man she loved, Jack, the Earl of Gracechurch.  She is living with Kate Seaton, the Dowager Duchess of Murther in Belgium.  Olivia has gone with a friend to help her find her father after the battle is over when Olivia finds Jack and he is wearing a French uniform.  Not wanting him to be caught as a traitor, Olivia strips him and brings him back to Kate's house.  Jack has absentia and thinks he is still married to Olivia.  He can't remember where he is and how he got there.  Under recommendations from a doctor, Olivia lets Jack continue thinking he is still married to her.  At the same time, she must escape notice of Jack's cousin.

As the story progresses, Jack starts to figure out that he was betrayed by the people closest to him and the one hurt was Olivia.

This was a great read because it wasn't the typical romance.  The main characters had already been married.  I loved the story from the beginning to the end.

A Highlander's Passion by Vonnie Davis

Kenzie Denune and Bryce Matheson had been friends from Kindergarten into High School.  When Bryce met Miranda, he cast Kenzie aside because of Miranda's jealousy. Years later, Bryce is a single dad because Miranda died after the birth of their daughter.  He is still feeling guilty for Miranda's death when he has a torrid affair with Kenzie.  When Bryce breaks it off, Kenzie is devastated and soon after married Duncan.  Duncan turns out to be an abusive husband.  He beats Kenzie in a jealous rage causing her to lose her baby.  When Duncan is killed, Kenzie is finally free and Bryce is determined to win her love.  Bryce has always known he is a bear-shifter but Kenzie is just learning that she is a witch.  There are mysterious forces from the past she is unaware of that may prevent her from reaching her happy ever after.

I have been waiting for this book since I read the first in the series, "A Highlander's Obsession".   As soon as I got this as an ARC, I put down the book I was reading and didn't stop reading until I was done.

I loved that this book was a part of a series, yet somebody that didn't read the first book could pick this one up and read it.  I was thrilled to see how one of my favorite characters, Effie, is given new depth as a mentor to Kenzie.  Between the emotional baggage left between Kenzie and Bryce that needs to be resolved and Kenzie's past, the novel is more emotional and complex than the first novel.  It was nice to see favorite characters from the first novel.

As much as I liked the novel, I felt that the last chapter was too rushed.  So the bad guy was vanquished and now what happens? There was a nice description of the wedding preparation but when it came to the wedding, it just seemed like it was shoved together.  And Bryce's daughter Colleen.  She was way over the top and so cutsie it was annoying.  It wasn't funny when she found her Uncle Ronan's "dirty magazines".  But to let her cutsie speech as the Cheery Greeter at Matheson Lodge go on and resolve/disclose things was just nauseating.  The one thing that can spoil a great book is when kids are written poorly and Colleen is coming close.

There one thing that bugged me was the usage of the word "fer" instead of "for".  I understand the characters are Scottish.  There will be dialect.  When it occurs at times when the characters aren't speaking, it is annoying.  It was so bad I could have made a drinking game out of it.

All in all, I loved the book and was glad I received an ARC!

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

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sebastian's Lady Spy by Sharon Cullen

Sebastian Addison has been a spy for several years.  He now wants to retire and resume his duties as the Earl of Claybrook.  However, he has a mission the Crown will not let him refuse - one with his former lover (and woman he can't forget) Contessa Gabrielle Marciano.

I loved the espionage and the fact that the heroine was a spy too.  Too many times, the hero is the spy and has to rescue his heroine. Gabrielle is a capable spy in her own right.  Sebastian was quite surprised to find the lover that he can't forget is also a spy.

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

The Duke's Disaster by Grace Burrowes

Lady Araminthea Collins was forced into service as a companion by circumstance.  Noah Winters, the Duke of Anselm was planning on marrying her current charge, Marliss, the daughter of Viscount Endmon when another suitor staked a claim first.  Anselm makes a very hard to resist proposal to Lady Thea.  When they marry, Anselm finds that things aren't as he anticipated.  He has to court his own wife.

I loved how Thea and Anselm grew as their marriage progressed.  There are several misconceptions that make up the plot.  The one is very transparent while the other surprised me when it was resolved. The supporting characters added to the depth of the novel.  I was hooked from the opening sentence to the end.

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

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Courtesan Duchess by Joanna Shupe

This is Joanna Shupe's debut novel and first in the "Wicked Deceptions" series.  I requested it because I thought the synopsis on NetGalley was interesting.  When I started reading the book, I found it was captivating from the first paragraph to the end and the synopsis does not do the book justice.  The only thing that was accurate were the two quotes from the other authors.  I loved it so much that I went to the B&N website and pre-ordered it.   If I read paper books, it would sit in the front of my shelf so I could grab it when I wanted to reread it.

Eight years ago, Julia was forced to marry Nicholas Seaton, the Duke of Colton.  As soon as they said their vows, he left England.  His smarmy cousin, Lord Templeton, has been decreasing her allowance and the last time he did, he told her she needs to perform "favors".  In a desperate state, Julia sells the remaining jewelry she owned to hire London's premiere courtesan, Pearl Kelly, to teach her how to seduce her husband.  Julia travels to Venice with her husbands best friend, Simon Barrett, the Earl of Winchester.  In Venice, she poses as his mistress, Mrs. Juliet Leighton.  Her goal is to seduce him and get pregnant with his heir so she doesn't end up in debtor's prison.

Nick earned every bit off his nickname the "Depraved Duke".  His seduction of Julia borders on erotica.  Not your average Historical Romance.  All of the characters from Nick and Julia to Aunt Theo and Fitz were so well written that the supporting characters didn't feel like supporting characters.  I loved Simon almost as much as Nick.  But, I will admit there were times that I wish I could have reached into the book and slapped Nick for being so stupid.  Just because he was the "unwanted child" didn't mean that he could treat Julia as he did.  While Julia's attempt to seduce her husband and have his heir was the main plot, there was a subplot that revolved around little "accidents"  When it was resolved, I was surprised.  I never would have guessed.  

I think the only thing that I wish had been included was Nick tracking down the jewelry Julia had to sell and giving it to her.

I am a bit confused because this is Joanna's first novel yet she won the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Award for Best Historical in 2013.  Did it take two years for this book to be released.  That is a darn shame.

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

Friday, March 6, 2015

Undesired Lust (Reckless Beat #3) by Eden Summers

Two years ago, Sidney Higgins and two of the members of Reckless Beat, Mason Lynch and Sean Taiden had a wild encounter in a hotel room.  Mason vidoed it with his phone, then his apartment got broken into and the phone stolen.  When the video was uploaded to the internet, Sidney is the one that lost everything.  The record deal that she was about to sign was pulled.  People wouldn't record with her.  Now, two years later, Reckless Beat's manager, Leah, arranges for Sidney to write again with Mason.  However, this time, there is a crazy stalker trying to get at Sidney.

I read this book in a binge of the four (including 2.5) Reckless Beat books.  Each one maintains the same quality.  The characters are great.  There is a dynamic between the members of the band.  They are sarcastic yet still are friends.  I liked Sidney and Mason's story.  Sidney was one of the few people that could see the real Mason.  I loved that the mighty Mason finally met his match in Sidney. 

The heat level in the book is intense (I thought my iPad was going to melt) and compliments the plot.  Yes, there is a true plot.  I love how Leah and the other band members play a part in the book. 

Again, another great book.

Married to a Perfect Stranger by Jane Ashford

Two years ago, John Bexley and Mary Fleming were married.  He then left immediately for a diplomatic mission to China.  When John returned, Mary wasn't the woman he expected.  He thought her family sent her to live with an aunt, only to find Mary in charge of the house when he returns.  John storms off to London and rents a house.  Mary arrives in London to find the most disagreeable servants and John still wanting her to fit into his ideal.

I didn't like the novel.  Not bad writing, but just didn't interest me.  I didn't like the way it started and found it dull

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

Wicked, My Love by Susanna Ives

Isabella St.Vincent's long standing nemesis is Lord Randall, the son of the Earl of Hazelwood.  They haven't gotten along since childhood.  Lord Randall is a stuffy, golden boy Tory and Isabella is a bluestocking running the bank their father's started.  When hell breaks loose, Randall needs Isabella's help.  

Isabella was a strong character that needed a strong man.  The chase of Isabella and Randall finding out that they belonged together was great.

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

In For A Penny by Rose Lerner

Lord Nevinstoke meets Penelope Brown, the daughter of a wealthy brewer, at a gathering and asks her if he can pick hors d'oeuvres for her.  There is an immediate connection.  When he gets home, he finds that his father has been killed in a duel and he goes from a care free, money spending bachelor to being bankrupt.  He sells off everything he can then makes an offer of marriage to Penelope.  When Nev proposes to Penelope, he cuts off his friendship with his buddies and quit his wild ways.

I liked the story and found it refreshing.  There were a lot of obstacles that Nev and Penelope had to overcome before they could find their HEA.

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

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Reckless Weekend by Eden Summers

Reckless Weekend is 2.5 in the "Reckless Beat" series.  It is written so there is a conclusion to Mitchell/Alana and Blake/Gabi's stories.  Reckless Weekend is the weekend in Vegas before Mitch and Alana's wedding.  There is a "honeymoon" contest between the bride and groom and a surprise HEA.  It also gives some foreshadowing for Ryan and Sean.  I loved the beauty salon scene with Sean and the Brazilian.  I am hoping that when his book comes, that Maree is his girl.

I liked how the author chose to do a 2.5 rather than allowing the couples in the first two books HEA to overshadow the other books.  The banter and sarcasm was great.  It is erotic without being overpowering.

I can't wait to see what happens with Ryan and Leah.

Five out of five stars.

Passionate Addiction by Eden Summers

Blake Kennedy has demons.  He is in a chat room on the internet when he meets the woman that will save him.  Gabrielle Smith first started chatting with Blake in the chat room then that grew to text, email and Skype.  However, they have only voice called, not video chatted, so Blake doesn't know what Gabi looks like. Reckless Beat is on the Australian leg of their tour and Blake takes advantage to go several days early to meet Gabi on her birthday.  They meet and the connection in instant.

Blake is the tortured bad boy of the band that went through addiction and recovery without the rest of the band knowing.  He is covered in tattoos and sex personified.  But, beneath that bad boy exterior is a good man with a soft heart.  Gabi knows all to well about addictions.  Her brother OD'd and later died on her birthday.  Her parents can't acknowledge her birthday and seem to have distanced themselves from their remaining child.

Again, this was another well written book from Eden Summers.  It just keeps building on the story started in "Blind Attraction".  Each book spotlights the main character, but with the other members of the band playing a large roll.  I loved the character of Blake.  He is a former man-whore that has found the woman that he needs to save him.  Gabi is a strong woman that isn't afraid to joke right back with the members of the band.

This was a book that I didn't put down until I was done.  I loved the banter between the band members.  It is classified as "erotica" but keeps a perfect, fine balance between being erotic and not overwhelming the plot.  And yes, there is a plot in this novel.

I give it five out of five stars.

Blind Attraction by Eden Summers

Alana Shelton had lead an extremely sheltered life.  She grew up in Colorado at a sanctuary for abused women and was home schooled.  She was with a friend she had known from when her mother lived in Richmond.  The friend, Kate, had won tickets to Reckless Beat's album launch concert.  Alana drew the attention of Mitchell Davies, lead guitar.  He arranges for a security guard to tell Alana that he wanted to meet her after the concert.  When the security guard is fired, the connection almost isn't made.  But, Mitch finds her as she is leaving the hotel and takes Alana and Kate to his suite.  That is when they encounter the security guard that causes an accident that leaves Kate temporarily blinded.  Mitch devotes himself to Alana because he feels guilty about the accident.

I subscribe to BookBub and this was one of the books listed in one of my daily emails.  Since it was free, I took a chance.  It was a 50/50 that the book was written in first person.  When I started reading, I was pleasantly surprised.  Then I was hooked.  I loved the bond between the members of the band.  The naughty banter was hilarious.  I also fell in love with the members of the band.  I almost wished I was young enough to be a groupie!  The only part of the story line that bothered me was how Alana meets her grandparents and later father.

Once I started reading the book, I could not put it down.  And after I finished reading, I immediately bought the others.

I give this five out of five stars.

Loving Lady Marcia by Kieran Kramer

Lady Marcia Sherwood had been the head mistress at the private school she was educated at until the jealous patron and former classmate fires her.  Marcia is devastated and makes it her mission to return to her beloved school.  When Marcia was sixteen, she met Lord Duncan Lattimore, Earl of Chadwick, and his neerdowell brother Finnian when they were asked to escort Marcia to the family estate.  Finn ruins Marcia who then devotes her life to the school because she can't get married. Years later, she gets help on her mission to return to the school from an old nemesis, Lord Duncan. They end up falling in love.

I loved the Brady Bunch theme of this novel.  Marcia's mother was a poor widow that had married the Marquess of Brady.   Marcia was an intelligent character that was driven to success.  She fought hard for her beloved school and fought hard not to fall in love with Duncan.  Duncan was an honorable man that was attempting to correct his brother's mistakes.

This was a delightful book.  I found it hard to put down.