Review: The Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vyne (Sydney Dovedale, Book 2) by Jayne Fresina

the wicked wedding of miss ellie vyneHero: James Hartley is tracking down the man who stole a family heirloom right off the neck of his mistress. He knew better than to give her the jewels, she was not the mysterious woman he kissed at a costume ball. The only person he wants to find more than the Count de Bonneville is his Marie Antoinette. If he only knew they were one and the same!

Heroine: Ellie Vyne does what she must to keep her stepfather and half-sisters afloat. If they guessed she did it crossing-dressing and pretending to be a Count while fleecing noble drunkards at the gaming tables nearly every evening, they would all surely have a fit and explode. She’s just deciding to call the charade quits, when James bursts into her room at a hotel and comes to the conclusion she’s the Count’s mistress. Oh boy.

Review: As childhood frenemies, Ellie liked to take James down a size so he and his ego could fit through a door, and it’s much the same now that they are grown. If he won’t get over Sophie (see previous book in series) and notice how much she likes him, then she’ll poke fun at him instead. Grieves is a great side character – adding depth to the hero’s life and supplying endless dry humor for the reader. There were a few things I’d write out of the story, like the bastard child, but overall there are few complaints to be had. The wit, banter, and charm of the story are a home run smash out of the park. In conclusion, if you are looking for a terrific, wonderful, and amusing romp – look no further than Jayne Fresina’s latest release – with characters you like, and a couple to lose your heart too. You will want to run not walk to the bookstore.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vyne

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Audio Review: The Edge of Desire (Bastion Club, Book 7) by Stephanie Laurens

edge of desireHeroine: Lady Letitia Randall was in love once, but then the left her high and dry when she needed him most. Now to save her brother, Letitia must ask for aid from the same crusty curmudgeon. She’ll seduce him if she must in order to find her brother before the authorities do and to clear his name of her husband’s murder. This gal is determined.

Hero: Christian Allardyce, sixth Marquess of Dearne, didn’t tell Letitia he joined the ranks of Britain’s secret agents to fight Napoleon. He thought she would wait for him, but it turns out she married somebody else and that it was apparently a love match. It’s a betrayal he’ll never forgive, but when she asks for help he can’t refuse.

Review: Do you like reunion romances? Second chance love stories? A little murder mystery? You’ll like this book then! Just avoid the repeated references to Vaux temperament. The mystery is complex (drags a little at times, but interesting as it progresses) and each layer reveals something else about Letitia’s dearly eagerly departed husband. There’s also a big misunderstanding for our hero and heroine to put a nice bow on it.

Narrator: Steven Crossley has a very deep voice and a wonderful British accent. His voice sounds similar on one level to Sean Connery. He says things very precisely.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: The Edge of Desire (Bastion Club)

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Review: Compromising the Marquess (The Forsters, Book 1) by Wendy Soliman

Compromising the Marquess(1)Heroine: Leah Elliot and her sister are near destitution and live by the grace their graceless aunt and well-meaning but easily subdued uncle. They lost everything when their father died in a fire. His precious and expensive book collection went up in smoke. When Leah’s sister got sick, Leah turned to a family friend and started selling ton secrets to his gossip rag to survive. Knowing that their lives are not as stable as they seem, Leah is tempted to sell a few more secrets from their uncle’s country estate. The juiciest ones around seem to center on the Marquess.

Hero: Hal Forster is the Marquess of Denby. He worked for the British government during the reign of Napoleon as a spy. His secrets may be juicy, but they are meant to stay secret. When his French asset is killed, Hal rescues the man’s son and the manservant who helped smuggle the boy to safety. Not fooled by Leah’s disguise as a boy, Hal keeps a close eye on her. When her gossip opens up the possibility of social damage he convinces her to help him undo it.

Review: I love the cross-dressing heroine trope. It’s always fun and quirky. Not that the girl on the cover of the book could ever be mistaken as a boy, but the idea is still cute. I could have done without the sick and fragile sister. A healthy sister over her sickness would have been fine. I loved Hal’s willingness to aid Leah and uncover what really happened with her father. As far as the main mystery goes, I loved who the traitor ended up being. I figured it out two seconds before the big reveal. Wow. I also liked how Leah reveals clues to Hal about her location and what he might encounter when he comes to the rescue.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Compromising the Marquess (The Forsters)

Review: Curse of the Gypsy (Lady Anne Mystery, Book 3) by Donna Lea Simpson

Curse of the GypsyHeroine: When Lady Anne Addison visits the gypsy camp on her father’s lands, she swears she spies Tony in the woods. Unacceptable! She meant it when she said she needed space. Did the man never listen? Well he can’t misunderstand her if it is in writing!

Hero: Anthony, the Marquess of Darkefell, has proposed to Anne and her rejection has stung. Who does think she is to order him away from her side? Then to write such a letter! He wasn’t in Kent, but if she didn’t spy him in the woods, who was it? He intends to find out what is going on and convince Anne to wed him in the process.

Mystery: Sickness is spreading in the village and gypsy camp and both sides blame each other. Both sides curse each other and superstitions run amuck. As fear and tension grows, Lady Anne and Tony strive to get to the bottom of illness and what is causing it.

Review: I love that despite his disappointment, Tony still wears his love on his sleeve. I could have done without the focus on the illness, perhaps a string of escalating “incidents”? There were several in the story that were a tangent mystery. I love how Donna brings back the mystery of the first novel and wraps up the trilogy nicely.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Curse of the Gypsy: A Lady Anne Mystery

Review: Sweet Deception (Veiled Seduction, Book 2) by Heather Snow

Sweet Deception heather snowReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Location: Derbyshire, June 1817

Derick Aveline is the Viscount Scarsdale. He’s come back to his family’s estate, White Peak. He’s steps into Aveline Castle and is greeted to some strange goings-on. Emma Wallingford has a past history with Derick. He has an endearing nickname for her that you will just have to read the story to find out what it is – it’s not a nickname that you would expect.

Heather creates a scene where there’s a lot of water. You can see the whole thing unfold and you can almost hear it too. And now the mystery begins. What does Heather have in-store for her readers in book two of the Veiled Seduction series?

Emma’s brother is the magistrate, George Wallingford. We find out he’s not all that well which just adds to the mystery. If you like a little intrigue with your regency romance, you can’t go wrong in adding this to your library. If this is a title that you want to read over and over, I would suggest buying the paperback edition. Electronics can fail where actual paper doesn’t (as long as you take good care of it).

I admire Heather for making Emma a strong woman at a time where I’m sure most women did as they were told. She lives in an era where women don’t do a man’s job. But Emma, at times, seems to be just a little smarter than them. But they also listen to what she has to say.

One scene reminded me of “Dirty Dancing” – experienced older man and a young woman coming into her own. I certainly could picture Patrick Swayze playing the part of Derick. The minute you get to the scene in the book, you will understand.

Please make sure to read the “Author’s Note” at the end of this story. I found the information very interesting. In the past, I used to skip this part of the book. But now I find that I was missing out on a lot of information when I did that.

Heather also teases us by giving us a peek at her next book Sweet Madness that is coming out next year. If you haven’t read her first book Sweet Enemy, after you read this book I would go back and read the book that started it all. Or since you have the time, read the series in order. Heather has me looking forward to next year but also disappointed that it is so far away.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Sweet Deception: A Veiled Seduction Novel

384 pages (paperback)/613KB (e-book)

Review: The Saint Who Stole My Heart (Regency Rogues, Book 4) by Stefanie Sloane

Summary: He’s a master spy playing the idiot dandy. She’s the bluestocking who can’t stand him. Together they solve a murder mystery involving the “Bishop.”

Hero: Dashiell Matthews, Viscount Carrington, is a member of the Young Corinthians spy league. For years he’s perfected his addle-brained persona to counteract his arresting good looks. More than anything he wants to capture the Bishop and hold him accountable for the multitude of murders he’s responsible for, including that of the mother of one of Dashiell’s best friends.

Heroine: Miss Elena Barnes wants the priceless books in Dash’s collection. When her father tells her that his father willed the collection to them, she packs up and heads to London. She doesn’t expect Dashiell to whom she is very attracted too until he opens his mouth and speaks. When she uncovers his plot to get the Bishop she willingly joins him.

Review: The flashback makes you think the daughter of the murdered woman is the heroine of this story, but she’s not. I could live with that, but then there were the bizarre plot twists that detracted from the overall flow of the story. For instance, Elena’s maid’s abduction and rescue. That would have made more sense at the end of the tale.

The sequence was supposed to show the heroine as a social injustice reformer, but she comes across as stupid; running into a brothel run by evil bad guys to rescue her maid all without proper backup kind of stupid. It also turns out that Rowena, the maid, is like her best friend and practically a sister. Um, what?

I have loved other idiot/genius heroes in the past, but Dashiell was surprisingly bad at keeping the idiot front up around the heroine. He gives up the act too quickly and easily for someone who had to use it nonstop for spying and chose to live his life as the idiot in public to help his position in the Young Corinthians.

Finally, I felt that the romance was pushed a little too far too fast when the hero and heroine had sex in the carriage. The connection wasn’t there. They were missing a scene or two of development for it to translate to the reader.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Review: The Saint Who Stole My Heart: A Regency Rogues Novel

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Review: Unbuttoning Miss Hardwick by Deb Marlowe

unbuttoning miss hardwickSummary: Spinster Chloe Hardwick realizes she has feelings for her employer, the Marquess of Marland. To him she is just Hardwick, a sexless woman who efficiently runs his affairs and helps him organize his collection of fine weapons. When Chloe as a woman fails to gain his attention and in fact irritates him with her changes, she realizes things must change, herself included. The only thing left to do is leave. The Marquess hates that even more!

Review: This is a boss/secretary romance historical style! Love it!

Braedon pursues Hardwick to London, and realizes he can’t have the efficient Hardwick back. Still he begs her help in completing his long held quest for a very special weapon. The legend of this weapon resonates with Braedon and he wants it bad. Chloe wishes he wanted her half as much. The Marquess rejects emotional attachment in order to protect his heart from loss.

Chloe is scared of living life outside of the walls she built for herself, hiding behind one persona or another of what others want for her. To win the Marquess she’ll have to find herself and demand that he see her. It’s scary, his cold demeanor is scary, but she’s determined because she sees the man under the mask.

You will love the hero and heroine and root for their HEA. One of the best books of the year!

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Unbuttoning Miss Hardwick

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Review: Secrets of an Accidental Duchess (A Donovan Novel) by Jennifer Haymore

Reviewed by Carla F.

Summary: When Maxwell Buchanan, the Marquis of Hasley, first sees Olivia Donovan across the ballroom, he is struck by her beauty and cannot stop staring at her. Unfortunately, this is noticed by the Marquis of Fenwicke, a man who has always been a competitor of Max’s. Fenwicke knows who Olivia is and has tried to get her into his bed. He doesn’t think that Max will have any success with her either, and he is willing to bet money on it. Max is disgusted by Fenwicke, but he accepts the bet.

Olivia grew up in the West Indies and has been treated with kid gloves by the rest of her family since she contracted malaria years ago. It is wonderful that the visiting Max treats her like he would any desirable woman.

Review: I have enjoyed some of Haymore’s other books (particularly A Hint of Wicked) so I decided to read this one even though it has a trope that I don’t care for: the stupid bet. It is sometimes difficult to keep reading when you know what is going to cause disaster down the line for a relationship. However, the fact that Max never takes the bet seriously makes it bearable.

The relationship between Max and Olivia was a wonderful read. You can see the hope building in Olivia that she doesn’t have to live the rest of her life in her sister’s home. She can experience love.

This is the second book in the Donovan Sisters series, but the reader should be able to enjoy it without reading books 1 and 1.5.

Recommended: For readers who like to see a damaged heroine gain control of her life and find love.

ARC provided by Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Secrets of An Accidental Duchess (A Donovan Novel)

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