Review: An Unsuitable Match (The Duke of Strathmore, Book 2) by Sasha Cottman

cover52980-mediumHeroine: Lady Clarice Langham is in the unenviable position of watching the future Duke of Strathmore wed another woman. (She used to be engaged to the the man). Even being an heiress and a previous ton favorite doesn’t shelter her from vicious gossip and a waning society crown.

Hero: David Radley is the eldest son of the current Duke of Strathmore, but is alas illegitimate even if he is recognized by the duke. He’s loved Clarice for years and sees now as the perfect time to pledge his case.

Review: I think this book is better after having read the first in the series. Readers will have more background on Clarice and David. Clarice did not come across as a strong heroine, although I think she was meant to be because of her inner strength holding onto a secret. She felt drab and plain (she binds her body.) I could not connect with her. David was a good sort. He didn’t envy his younger brother the status of heir to the dukedom and he had a good relationship with his siblings.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: An Unsuitable Match: Destiny Romance

Review: In Bed with a Rogue (Rival Rogues, Book 2) by Samantha Grace

bed with a rogueHero: Baron Sebastian Thorne is the subject of ton gossip ever since he was jilted at the altar. It doesn’t help that his sister was also jilted. The ton wonders if there’s something wrong with them — because their father was mad — and if madness runs in the family. Sebastian vows to restore the family’s good name and help his sister.

Heroine: For widowed Lady Helena Prestwick’s proper appearances are deceiving. She is a woman of many secrets. Sold by her father to pay his gambling debts, she live many unhappy years in Scotland. Now independent she’s searching for her other sisters, planning to rescue them all. The two are brought together when Helena (the White Angel) rescues Sebastian from thugs in White Chapel.

Review: The opening sequence when the main characters meet each other is probably my favorite part. I liked the intrigue surrounding the White Angel, who brought relief to the slums through charity. Her man servant is searching brothels for her sister and she’s supposed to stay nearby to help coax her sister out if found. Instead she has an opportunity to save someone and takes it. I love that she takes the role usually reserved for the hero. The pacing of the story is where the novel didn’t work for me. It seemed to plod a long time before it picked up the pace.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: In Bed with a Rogue (Rival Rogues Book 2)

Review: Wicked Designs (League of Rogues, Book 1) by Lauren Smith

wicked designsHeroine: Miss Emily Parr moved into her uncle’s home when her parents died. Her uncle sold everything she had of value because of his debts. His partner is a lecherous creep. She wants to get married and quickly to escape both men. Someone kind who will leave her alone to her books… but then she’s kidnapped.

Hero: The Duke of Essex, Godric St. Laurent, and his four best friends kidnap Miss Emily Parr in order to ruin her reputation or ransom her for the funds he’s owed (her uncle swindled money from Godric to pay his debts not invest.) To his consternation, Godric finds he likes the dauntless Miss Emily… and so do his friends.

Review:  You’ve got to love a heroine who’s unwilling to remained kidnapped. She lets her captors know that the person they ruined was her not her uncle and the ruination was unjust. She expects one of them to marry her. Several of the gentlemen would be willing to do so, Godric more than any other.

But here lies the problem, there’s too many men interested in pursuing her and it leads to many scenes where the gentlemen argue over hurting her feelings and taking undue advantage of her. She became a “magic hoo hoo” without the sex for these gents, which is a phenomenon only meant to effect the hero.

Her spunk faded and the hero’s bristling broodiness turned into puppy love (which let me be clear would have been fine if the heroine was still acting spunky with escape attempts and fighting back.) The gents can all speak Greek and so can she so the private conversations are not so private (convenient). Overall while this book wasn’t for me I would definitely give the author another go because the good parts were good and the author made me laugh.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: Wicked Designs (The League of Rogues)

Review: How to Lose a Lord in 10 Days or Less (Tricks of the Ton, Book 3) by Elizabeth Michels

how to lose a lord in 10 days or lessHero: Andrew Clifton is Lord Amberstall. On his return to London society, he realizes he is being followed and takes measures to evade his pursuers. At first it seems like a successful attempt to escape… but then his horse nearly lands on a young woman and he gets thrown.

Heroine: Katie Moore used to love horses until she had a bad fall off of one that left her with a permanent limp. Her retreat to the countryside was a decision she took knowing she would never be on the marriage mart again. Terrified to be near horses, Katie is still determined to save Lord Andrew’s horse.

Review: First of all, I love this book title. How fantastic is it? I think it’s great. I also love the series title. The hero and heroine couldn’t be more opposite. The hero is pragmatic while the heroine is overly sentimental. Katie is determined to put her foot down on Andrew’s decision to shoot his injured horse. He says it’s a fatal injury. She claims it is not. Who is right? What is humane? If the horse can be rehabilitated it won’t be able to walk or run like normal. Katie is not impressed. She wins the first round by refusing to lend Andrew a replacement horse and invites him to stay on her father’s estate while the horse mends. I’m sad to say, that both characters were kind of flat for me and I was never really involved in the story despite the intrigue around Lord Andrew.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: How to Lose a Lord in 10 Days or Less (Tricks of the Ton)

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Review: Waking Up Immortal (Universal Security, Book 1) by Rachel Carrington

Waking Up ImmortalHero: Kier is part-man-part-machine and is the head warden for the most dangerous prison in the galaxy. One particular inmate is a huge problem and despite all efforts to isolate the man and contain his powers, the inmate keeps progressing forward a master scheme to get revenge and gain his freedom. So when the inmate’s daughter starts looking for her father, Kier gets a little edgy.

Heroine: Chloe nearly dies and learns from her mother that she’s an alien. Apparently dying triggers some immortality gene and she’ll be young and pretty forever. Chloe has no desire to live that way and decides to find her absentee father and get the goods on reversing this little tick. Along the way she finds out her father was tortured and then imprisoned by two different parties and hopes he’s not as bad as everyone says he is… A handsome Terminator-like fellow tries to persuade her otherwise, but Chloe is going to get answers!

Review: The world-building for Waking Up Immortal is too vague. You can catch the general picture of the setup but the nuances are missing to really solidify the how the aliens/humans on earth interact and what exactly is their purpose/mission. Chloe goes back and forth quite a bit on wanting to meet her dad, and when she finally meets her dad he tries to kill her / turn her over to the people who tortured him and everything gets a bit muddled. She disobeys Kier when she should listen to him in a very (too-stupid-to-live) TSTL kind of way– I mean really, the girl just realized she’s an alien and has no clue what is really going on and instead of listening thinks she knows best? The dad is a very interesting villain and the head-case drama he can pull is creepy. Kier by far is my favorite character.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: Waking Up Immortal (Universal Security)

Review: Ripe for Seduction (League of Second Sons, Book 3) by Isobel Carr

ripe for seductionHeroine: Lady Olivia Carlow is a widow without the protection of widowhood. Her husband was a bigamist, which was revealed upon his death. If finding out her marriage was a sham, having the ton know too is a worse blow. Now she is a social pariah and the men who wooed her in her first season are circling to proposition her this season. When Roland sends her a letter with a scandalous proposal she blackmails him in front of his mother with it to secure a pretend engagement. She will give him back the letter after he squires her around town, fending off the barracudas. Her ultimate goal is complete social ruin, so she can retire to the countryside and avoid the ton for good. Her plan can’t possibly backfire, can it?

Hero: Roland Devere was drunk at the time he sent that letter. Who knew she’d blackmail him with it? However, the pretend engagement will suit his needs very well. Roland entered a bet with his fellow second sons about who would be the first into Lady Olivia’s bed. It’s a bet he plans to win. As he gets to know her though, Roland realizes he wants the engagement to be real.

Review: The side plot, rescuing some girl from her brother’s schemes to give/sell her in marriage to an abusive brute with deep pockets is totally irrelevant to the story. Cut this out and the story would be more concise and less choppy. Additionally, it was weird to have the secondary romance be the heroine’s father with the hero’s sister. Mmm…kay. It also takes up as much page time as the main romance, and in some places outshines the hero and heroine. I did like the boat race and the semi-public tryst that took place there between Roland and Olivia. It was pretty titillating! The rest of good sex scenes were with the sister and dad.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: Ripe for Seduction (The League of Second Sons)

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Review: Three Sisters (Blackberry Island, Book 2) by Susan Mallery

three sistersThis book is not an anthology, but there are three stories intertwined in it. Three Sisters is the nickname for three Victorian houses on a cul-de-sac and with a name like that, it is easy to see that the three women who own it will become as “sisters” in their friendships to one another.

Romantic relationships are at the heart of the novel, but it is not your traditional romance novel. It’s more women’s fiction with romantic elements. I found two of the three stories very depressing for much of their page time and should come with a warning label for some readers. The issues in the novel are not lighthearted ones and could be tough to read emotionally for some women.

One woman deals (or not) with grief over the death of her infant son and it is destroying her marriage. (Her husband isn’t handling it any better and gets drunk to avoid his grief.)

Another woman is struggling in her marriage because she needs order and perfection to counter her childhood abusive relationship with her mother. Her needs, which are silent and never spoken, affect her household and all her children see her as the bad guy. (How could her husband who indicates knowing this tragic past, say/think the things he did and not be more sympathetic or handle his own concerns/needs better/sooner?)

The last woman faces the challenges of new beginnings after her fiancé dumps her at the altar and runs off with his secretary to get hitched in Vegas. I by far, enjoyed her story the most. I liked her, her new fella, and the daughter.

Each of the married women’s struggles is handled with respect, but the story is at times very much a downer. It’s not until over halfway through the book that things start to look up for the two married women on the street, but getting there was painful for me. Their husbands also had to come around and I wasn’t convinced by one of them for a while because it seemed like all the blame was on the wife. Not fair.

The book will tug at your heartstrings, but you have to ask yourself do you want them to be tugged so hard? It ends happy. I give 2 Stars for the married couples’ stories and 4 Stars for the single gal’s story…

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: Three Sisters (Blackberry Island)

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Review: To Seduce an Earl (Seduction, Book 1) by Lori Brighton

to seduce an earlHero: When Alex Weston was young, he was blackmailed into working as a male prostitute in order to keep his family from London’s prisons. He has been thinking of escaping ever since, but the information that caught him then, is holding him captive today. With nothing much better to look forward, Alex decides to stay where he’s at until an intriguing costumer comes to his bed. Can he find the strength to break away from his world in order to keep her there?

Heroine: Grace Brisbane arrives at Lavender Hills quite by mistake. She’s tricked by her stepbrother and has no idea what she’s getting when Alex comes to the bedchamber. Clearly he is not an eccentric book collector. Horribly hurt by her stepbrother’s actions, Grace confronts him and learns the family’s finances are not good. Apparently her stepbrother wanted to help her catch the eye of the Earl of Rodrick, a man Grace has been infatuated with for a while. The Earl prefers experienced women over virgins. Can she gain enough experience to seduce an earl without complete ruination? One way to find out!

Review: I got tired of Alex’s never-ending pity party. The picture painted at Lavender Hills wasn’t ideal, but neither was it so foul that I felt Alex was truly trapped. (Is this a double standard? Yes, it is.) He was trapped mentally in his own apathy about his situation more than anything else. Sure, there are a couple of big brutes standing guard in the halls – it’s called a window. Alex won’t take that escape either because the blackmailing madam of the house would send said brutes to find him. For a man capable of wooing any virgin, he wasn’t as manly or ferocious in his sex appeal and I had hoped. Grace and Alex, when they are together, kept the story moving forward and kept my focus. It’s entertaining, quick, and good for passing time at the airport. I look forward to learning more about Gideon.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: To Seduce an Earl (The Seduction Series)

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