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)

Top 10 Reasons Why Old Relationships Are Worth Revisiting

All the Boys I Ever KissedGuest blog by Marilyn Kelly, author of All the Boys I Ever Kissed: A Choose Your Own Ending Novel being released on Amazon on April 22.

Do you ever wonder about your old boyfriends? I married my college sweetheart, so it’s been a long time since I kissed another man, but I have some sweet memories. My latest novel is a contemporary women’s fiction called All the Boys I Ever Kissed (A Choose Your Ending Novel), about a widowed travel writer who looks to past boyfriends to find her future. There are three amazing men – a DC firefighter/paramedic, an athletic Argentine millionaire, and a British baron. Which one will win the heroine’s heart? You choose your favorite!

I made this a Choose Your Own Ending Novel because there are three men the heroine falls in love with, and I fell in love with them all while writing the book. It pained me to choose one, so I wrote three different endings thinking I would find a hero I preferred. I didn’t. All three of these men have their flaws and their strengths, and I decided the reader should get to choose their favorite. What do you think of that concept? I also wrote The Man Tell All Q&A because I missed having the men’s point of view in this first-person novel. I broke a lot of rules of the romance genre, but sometimes the writing process won’t follow directions.

We all know dating is hard, and some relationships that didn’t work out in the past might be worth a second look. Of course, abusive relationships are best left behind, but there might be someone who still puts a smile on your face. If you are looking for a new relationship, consider making a list of all the boys you ever kissed. If one of them still floats your boat, find out if they’re available, and reach out to them. Who knows, it might be the start to your happy ending.

I was inspired by a recent guest blog on Why It Didn’t Work Out by Torie James to write the Top 10 Reasons Why Old Relationships Are Worth Revisiting.

  1. You were attracted to each other at one point. As we get older, it seems harder to find people who are physically compatible. Never underestimate the value of physical attraction. It’s a wonderful basis for a loving relationship.
  2. You may have grown because of the breakup. Sometimes people say the most terrible things to each other during an argument, but afterward realize there was more than a grain of truth to the accusations. Maybe leaving your makeup spread out over the bathroom counter drove him crazy. You didn’t do it with the next boyfriend and it wasn’t so hard. Hopefully, you can laugh about it in retrospect.
  3. You will remember each other younger and possibly thinner. Most of us have a flashback when we see people we’ve known for a long time. In our mind’s eye, we recall them with fewer wrinkles. There are times when I look at my husband and tears come to my eyes because he looks just like he did when we met in college. And our children have now graduated. He says the same thing about me, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
  4. You know each other’s faults. There are no unexpected surprises three months into the relationship when so many people reveal their true colors. Even if he hasn’t changed his slovenly ways, you’ve realized there are worse faults. Like cheating on you or yelling at you. At least he brings you flowers.
  5. You miss each other. Sometimes you think about him, and vice versa. Unless you had a truly ugly breakup, there are good memories there if you bring them to light.
  6. You have friends in common who would cheer you on. Most breakups divide friendships along with the other belongings. There’s probably someone you miss among his friends. Besides, if it doesn’t work out your ex, maybe one of his friends will be a fit.
  7. If you have children or pets in common, that’s an even better reason to give love a second chance. I have a hard time with couples who claim to still be best friends but split up anyway. Monogamy is hard, but the shared memories and comfort are worth the trouble. Especially if there are children involved, special effort should be made to work through the problems. Nobody’s perfect, but if there isn’t abuse, find a counselor you both like and learn to forgive.
  8. You have equal power going back into the relationship. This is especially important if you broke up because of a power struggle, but everyone can benefit. An honest discussion can be had right from the start about how chores are going to be divided or other sticky subjects that drove you apart. Just be sure to maintain your sense of humor, and you could have your cake and eat it too.
  9. You understand each other’s lives and are more accepting of the sacrifices. Maybe it used to drive you crazy that he worked such late hours, but now you would appreciate the extra money. Maybe he never understood why you called your mother so much, but now his mother is gone and he wishes he’d called her more. Maybe you’d both be more willing to compromise the second time around.
  10. You loved each other. There was a time when you couldn’t think of anything but making him happy, and vice versa. Unless you now hate him, that spark might still be alive. I don’t believe there’s only one person for each of us, but passionate love doesn’t come easily. Second time around, be sure to nurture each other and maybe the love will last forever this time.

Have any of you reunited with old boyfriends? How did that work out for you?

All the Boys I Ever Kissed – A Choose Your Own Ending Novel blurb.

Lana Patterson wants a husband, but she’s striking out online and with blind dates. Her sister suggests she look to her past to find her future, and Lana starts contacting old boyfriends. She’s been practically housebound since her husband died, so she starts local, in Washington DC.

Captain CPR is Chippendale firefighter hot, but other than his incredible body and compatible sense of humor, Lana doesn’t find him the ideal bedmate or potential husband. Pierce Abrams runs into burning buildings for a living, and she wants a husband who will be there to walk her daughter down the aisle.

Lana grew up as a Foreign Service child and is now a travel writer. Her sister and daughter insist she hit the road, so Argentina and England are her next stops. The first boy she ever kissed is athletic, adventurous, intelligent, wealthy, and the most amazing Latin lover. Unfortunately, Sergio Salazar has a closet full of girlfriends that he claims he’s willing to give up. Lana has her doubts.

Her high school boyfriend has more potential, since his current girlfriend is on the wane. Duncan Claymore is a baron with a castle, and oh so tempting, even introducing Lana and family to the Duchess of Cambridge. It would be a fantasy life, but his conniving sister threatens to derail their renewed love affair.

Three amazing men are all having adventures of their own. Which one will capture Lana’s heart? The reader gets to choose!

Buy: All the Boys I Ever Kissed

All the Boys I Ever Kissed, A Choose Your Own Ending NovelExcerpt:

“What was the best kiss you ever had?” My older sister Marie propped her elbows on my batik tablecloth and adopted her “tell me everything” look, usually as effective as a Jedi mind trick. “Before Jude, of course.”

Best kiss before my soul mate? It had been ages. “I honestly don’t remember.” I glanced through the porch door to the kitchen, where my adorable daughter, Ashley, stood in her soccer uniform arranging cupcakes on a plate. I wasn’t about to discuss my past boyfriends in front of a twelve-year-old tomboy. “I don’t see how that’s relevant to me finding a new husband.”

Marie sat back with a huff, her short black curls a shadowy halo in the fading light. “You haven’t had much luck finding a man, Lana. I’m racking my brain for ideas.”

“I appreciate that, but you can’t hurry love.” What I didn’t appreciate was my dating failures on review, again, no matter how good the intention.

Ashley set dessert on the table and took her seat beside me, her toothy smile a constant reminder of her father. “Mom, don’t you want to remarry?” She and Marie shared a conspiratorial glance. They were clearly on a mission together. “You told me once that snuggling with Dad was your favorite thing in the world. Don’t you miss that?”

Did I ever. Jude had dubbed me the perfect bedmate, always warm and willing. Waking up alone was still tough after two years. “Of course, I do.” I refilled my glass of homemade lemonade, wishing I’d spiked it with some tequila to fortify me for this intervention.

Buy: All the Boys I Ever Kissed

Marilyn Kelly’s Bio:

My Wanton Widows series, published by Ellora’s Cave, is about three accomplished women in Victorian England who are all searching for love, respect, and passion. The first in the series is Sounds of Love about a matchmaking novelist, a scholarly widow and an arrogant earl.

All the Boys I Ever Kissed (A Choose Your Ending Novel) is my first contemporary romantic women’s fiction. If you like The Bachelorette or Mamma Mia, I hope you’ll love this book!

My goal is to make thousands of readers happy and fulfilled. Please let me know if I’ve succeeded. If you would like to receive my newsletter and participate in contests, visit my website, www.MarilynKelly.net or email me at marilyn@marilynkelly.net. For everyone who makes a comment here and then goes to my website to sign up for my newsletter, I will send you a gift package in the mail with an acrylic shot glass and a heart-shaped pill case as a thank you. Just mention Love Romance Passion.

Want me to send you these? Comment here then visit www.marilynkelly.net, sign up for my newsletter and mention Love Romance Passion.

Buy: All the Boys I Ever Kissed

Review: A Baron in Her Bed (Spies of Mayfair, Book 1) by Maggi Andersen

baron in her bedReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This story takes place in the year 1816.

In reading Maggi’s book, she made the best choice when she created Horatia Cavendish. It’s a great way to start off the book when the lead female character has a mind of her own and goes against convention. She also has her male character, Guy Truesdale, let his ladylove be herself – he doesn’t try to change her.

This book has a lot of passion between the two without having to add all the sex that some readers crave. I don’t think the book would have been as good. It would have taken away from all the mystery and intrigue that Maggi has included. That is what had me turning the page. I wanted to find out what was going on the same time that Horatia did.

There were other characters in this book, one being Guy’s sister Genevieve and his friend John. I’m hoping that since this is a series, Maggi will have a couple more stories that will let us know what has happened to those two – I will keep my fingers crossed. When it comes to thinking who the female character would be played by, we always want to put ourselves in her place. But the real question is, who would play your romantic lead?

When I looked this book up on Amazon.com it was nice to see that the paperback is Low in Stock and that sounds like a good thing. I may have an e-reader but I still love to have a book where I can physically turn the pages and look at the great cover whenever I want to. If you’re looking for a great historical fiction that has some mystery, suspense, and just the right amount of romance, you will want to add this book to your library. It’s also a great way to start off a series.

If you love to follow blogs, you may want to go to http://www.maggiandersenauthor.com and sign up for her newsletter. She has a book two of this series coming out titled Taming of a Gentleman Spy. I could not get any information, other than it’s coming out in September, but if you follow her I’m sure that she will give some hints as to what this next book will be about.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: A Baron in her Bed (The Spies of Mayfair Series)

Review: Too Scandalous to Wed by Alexandra Benedict

bookreview

Alexandra Benedict’s novel Too Scandalous to Wed flirts with disaster and happily ever after at every turn. A strong wind could not tumble the stack of fantasies Henrietta has built around Sebastian, Viscount Ravenswood, or could it? Sebastian does not want to be the hero of Henrietta’s dreams, he doesn’t want the little hoyden at all, but he can’t seem to get rid of her. Of course, he hasn’t been really trying – running away simply doesn’t count when the girl is determined to have him.

Henrietta has fancied herself in love with Sebastian for years and has been trying to catch his eye. She is certain that he loves her, even if he does not know it. At every turn the brute chooses to ignore her attempts of flirtation or reprimand her for the silliest things. If only she could get him to kiss her! When Sebastian runs off to hide on the continent to keep the lovely Henrietta at bay she turns a desperate idea of hers to keep him into action and visits England’s highest ranking courtesan for help.

Sebastian doesn’t know what hit him, but he is certainly feeling its affects as his eye and his thoughts are drawn more and more toward the bewitching vixen that’s replaced the girl who always adored him. The more she treats him with reverence the more he wants to hear her say his name. The changes in her are disconcerting and enchanting at the same time to Sebastian. He knows even as he tries to figure her out, that he should not get close to her as he is not a good man. The quickening in his heart and loins won’t let him rest either until Henrietta’s every mystery is solved.

Henrietta struggles to keep the lessons of seduction in place, pretending aloofness even while lightning sizzles through her at a single smoldering blue-eyed glance. Sebastian was finally finding her irresistible, becoming the man of her dreams before her eyes. Remaining coy and composed she flirts dangerously with disaster, because if Sebastian ever found out what she’d done to snare him, he’d never forgive her.

There are elements of intrigue and flights of fancy throughout the novel, from a revenge seeking enemy to Henrietta’s father calling her his ‘darling boy,’ you’ll be sure to gasp and giggle your way through the book.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Review: The Silver Squire by Marry Brendan

Marry a horrible abusive philandering man or risk absolute ruin by running away? Tough choice… not! Spinster Emma Worthington has waited this long for romance and there’s no way her family’s dire straights will force her into an unwanted marriage to a creep. She packs her bag and races to an old suitor in hopes he’ll renew his proposal. It might not be what she had hoped for out of her life, but it was far better than the alternative.

But meeting the man that became of the old suitor was supremely disappointing. He was obviously a drunkard like her father, drowning the memories of his late wife. His children were not the nice polite kids they were before. And she’s fairly certain the housekeeper is on too friendly of terms with the master of the house. So she dithers on his second proposal and seeks employment as a companion only to find out she sought a position with the mistress of her best friend’s husband’s best friend. Utterly humiliating!

Baron Richard Du Quesne thought he recognized the woman at the mail coach stop but now that he knows Emma is on the lam, he’s determined to save her from herself. His moniker around town is the Silver Squire because he owns most of the city and has enough silver lining his pockets to fund a small country for years. Is it any wonder she can’t hide from him? He’s reputation as a rake ruined his suit and his character in her eyes years ago—something he’ll changed this time around come hell or high water.

I can’t think of the words to describe the writing style of this story, but I’m leaning towards epic and classic with lots of drama and comedy. Emma and Richard bicker a lot, she does silly things to get away from him, thinking he’s as bad as the man her parents want her to marry, and does an extremely TSTL move at the end, but he saves her and so do his friends which is really sweet.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Silver Squire

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Review: It Happened One Bite by Lydia Dare

by Susan S., guest reviewer

Wickedly sensual! You’ll wish you had your own vampyre to make your heart race.

Summary: Heroine, Blaire Garia Lindsay, has agreed to travel to Loch Calavie at her brother’s insistence. He’s just inherited Briarcraig Castle; the ancestral home of the battle-born witches. It’s been said to be haunted by ghosts. But Blaire doesn’t place too much stock on gossips. Until she hears a voice. It’s coming from the cellar. Turns out she was right not to believe in ghosts. What she does find is rather…unexpected. Ms. Lindsay uncovers a vampyre! And just what the devil is hero, James Maitland, Baron Kettering of Derbyshire doing locked in a cellar? Well, that’s exactly what Blaire intends to find out.

Lindsay and Kettering will have to search for answers, either acknowledge or deny their growing attraction, and uncover hidden secrets without him dying, again, or her dying the first time.

Hope they find the answers soon! Trouble’s coming…without an invitation.

Review: I was right you know. Those unanswered questions from The Taming of the Wolf were resolved in this newest release. Things didn’t go as I had envisioned though. Lydia Dare’s unexpected plot twists gave me no foreshadowing the events would play out as they did. Two key events came at me from left field. Hitting me both hard and unexpectedly. What fun!

It Happened One Bite has a powerful beginning, strong mysterious elements, lots of magick, humor, as well as plenty of sensuality. You’ll close the book wishing the Còig witches would just conjure an additional 400 pages for you to read.

It’s always great fun when Dare’s heroes get utterly foxed; James does. He had a wee bit too much whiskey, and said a wee bit more than he should have. Whoops! As for the Vicar, Mr. Crawford, he’s at his wits end with the lot of these sinning witches and their male counterparts. What’s my overall opinion? This novel is another winner by the Dynamic Dare Duo!

My only recommendation: Baron Kettering should’ve taken an additional bath or two. Heck, he should’ve taken one before every chapter! (Suppressing laughter).

Recommendations: It Happened One Bite has mass appeal. It’ll draw readers like termites to wood. Especially if you like: romance, historicals, paranormal novels, and mysteries. Also for “adult readers” who liked the Twilight series.

Number of spotted cameos: I spied with my little eye seven familiar characters from the previous installments. There were three of Blaire’s coven sisters: Rhiannon, Elspeth, and Sorcha. Then Elspeth’s yummy lycan husband, Lord Benjamin Westfield. The Vicar, Mr. Crawford, Alec MacQuarrie, as well as Matthew Halkett, the Earl of Blodswell, which we met in The Taming of the Wolf. And who we’ll get to know more intimately in the next installment. (See What’s Next?) If I missed any cameos I blame it on Kettering. He kept distracting me with his hickey bites.

What’s Next? In the Heat of the Biteis set to release in July 2011; bringing us Rhiannon and Matthew’s story. Brace yourselves. A storm’s brewing!

Review-O-Meter Rating: Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: It Happened One Bite

Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. Romance, Copyright 2011, Print Pages 385. ISBN-13# 978-1-4022-4507-7.

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Review: A Precious Jewel by Mary Balogh

I got this novel from the library when MagdalenB recommended it for a hero who bumbles his first declaration of love/marriage proposal:

Balogh’s A Precious Jewel. Gerald tries to explain why marriage is good idea; forgets to mention “love.” Twice!

Read it in a day because it was so different than any courtesan romance I have read to date. While reading it I simply couldn’t put it down and I liked it a lot. Writing the review pointed out to me all the things I didn’t like about the novel so you’ll have to excuse the overly negative approach. This novel was not without flaws, but if you’re like me you’ll enjoy it anyway.

Priscilla Wentworth lost her father and brother within a very short span of time and became a ward of her uncle. Her uncle is a lecherous creep and to avoid his advances she runs away to London to meet up with her former governess. She had planned to get a job at her finishing school. In actuality it was a high end whorehouse. Prissy tried for two months to get a job as a maid, a servant, or a governess and could not because she had zero references. Too prideful to take a made up position by her old governess she chose instead to become an honest whore. No virgin prostitute novel here.

After two months working, Sir Gerald Stapleton, becomes her client. One night he comes to her and finds her beaten by her previous costumer and decides to set her up as his mistress. Gerald has very simple tastes in bed – he likes his partner to be unmoving and receptive. He has never made love to a woman, just used them. The love scenes are very detached because of this, even when he comes to Prissy and tries to learn.

Gerald is not really romance hero material. He has zero redeeming traits. He is not bright, or adventurous, or particularly good at anything. He is not handsome. He is not good in bed. He makes no grand gestures (except screwing up his marriage proposal twice) and his idea of romance is buying her pieces of jewelry (something most men did for their mistresses anyway). He tells Prissy she’s a “good girl” and “you have pleased me” more often than he should. In bed he takes and does not give. He doesn’t know how or care really to learn. He believes (and it’s true) that he’s inadequate.

However, he cannot help but love Prissy. She’s the backbone of the novel. Her warmth, unfailing kindness, and presence in his life draw him in and won’t let him go. Gerald must overcome his anger at the betrayals by his mother and stepmother in order to truly acknowledge his need for Prissy. Until then he treats her like a mistress and like their time together is strictly business.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: A Precious Jewel

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Review: Beauty and the Beast by Hannah Howell

bookreview

Beauty and the Beast by Hannah Howell is not a spectacular read. It is however a pretty solid read. I found several segments to be unnecessary and jumpy and predictable in others. This Highlander romance contains all the elements of the sub-genre including bride stealing, thwarted love, revenge plotting, and battle.

Thayer Saiturn is known as the Red Devil, a knight so fierce and courageous that his name inspires fear in the enemies. The second cousin in line for inheriting a title and land, Thayer knows his place in life is on the battlefield waging war to earn his bread and keep. He wishes for the finer things in life, namely a woman to warm his bed, but he knows his limitations. While men express awe and fear over him, women see nothing but an ugly, very hairy, very red brute covered with many scars (none on his face). He pays for the women in his bed, and does not seek one outside of this arrangement. Betrayed once by a beautiful woman, Thayer vows never to be so weak before another highborn beauty.

Gytha is promised by betrothal contract to the heir of Saiturn Manor. At first it was William, beautiful and strong bodied, but word came that he was dead. So too came word that the second cousin, Thayer was dead. Learning that she is to marry Robert, Gytha expresses disappointment. Robert is weak and his soft looks do nothing for her. She would prefer the knight coming in to witness the wedding – the tall one with flaming red hair, a lithe graceful body, and sweet soft brown eyes.

When she discovers that the red knight is Thayer, the true heir to Saiturn Manor, Gytha is relieved. Robert and his uncle are not but cannot fight the contract. Thayer is dismayed, having thought this to be William’s wedding he was attending, he finds no comfort in learning it is his own. The thought of the inheritance does not soothe him for his bride is the prettiest beauty he has ever seen. He was sure to be cuckold, made a fool of by his marriage to her. Men everywhere were vying for her attentions even as she walked down the aisle. He was doomed, for Gytha could not possibly want him.

Rating: ★★★☆☆