Audio Review: To Wager the Marquis of Wolverstone (Wicked Wagers, Book 2) by Bronwen Evans

wager the marquis of wolverstoneSummary: Marcus Danvers, the Marquis of Wolverstone, is a great big rake. He has been since the love of his life ran off to marry an older titled man. Marcus knows without a doubt that the Contessa Sabine Orsini is trouble, but he can’t resist her when she waltzes back into his life demanding his help. He gives it in exchange for her presence in his bed. It’s a deal Sabine is more than willing to make in order to get her revenge on the man who ruined her parents and her only chance of happiness.

Review: I found it difficult to like either the hero or heroine. He was an entitled prig. She was a cold fish. Then, just when they started to get enjoyable, Sabine runs off to the villain in a classic TSTL move, which was painful to listen to so I sped that part up.

Narrator: The trilogy is narrated as a whole by Marian Hussey. I found her to be a pleasant narrator with good pacing. She can do a nice husky male voice which made the heroes all the more convincing.

Warning/Spoiler: Sabine was raped by the villain, her son is the result of this sad event.

[Rating:1.5]

Buy: To Wager the Marquis of Wolverstone (Wicked Wagers)

Audio Review: Disciplining the Duchess by Annabel Joseph

Disciplining the DuchessHero: The Duke of Courtland is known for his subversive bedroom behavior and his uncomfortable preferences. He’s also known for his rigid control and decorum… but that just confirms these “uncomfortable habits.” He’s a dom and is into spanking – the news reaches his father-in-law and fiancée and suddenly he’s jilted while the bride runs off with another. Determined to leave it behind, Court goes to a house party and comes across a most intriguing creature.

Heroine: Miss Harmony Barrett is a spinster in the making. She’s been on the marriage mart for five seasons and is still unmarried. She’s very good at repelling gentlemen of consequence away – but who wouldn’t repel a greasy overblown aristocrat, decades older than yourself? She’s not even allowed to waltz since the debacle at Almacks. A genuine bluestocking, Harmony prefers her books on Mongol hordes over idle chitchat with girls her own age. When it comes to the hero and Mongols, she’s a bit of an airhead.

Review: Harmony is a heroine determined to land herself in the suds. She wants to see a Roman wall so badly she runs off without telling anyone. Lucky for her the Duke was interested in her safety to the point of willingly leg-shackling himself to her in order to fulfill her stubborn desire. (Heroine believes for as long as possible there will be no consequences to her misadventure.) The story is definitely erotica and for the most part works really well and comes across sexy. But as with most BDSM set-ups the hero is unaware of when he takes it too far and it causes emotional and physical strife for the heroine. That’s always difficult for me especially when the reasoning behind the “big punishment” is so stupid. Court wants Harmony to be a society duchess, but he’s oblivious to her own desires and the fact that she’s apparently incapable of proper behavior in front of company. He tries to mold her into something she’s not and that there is the “uncomfortable habits” for me. I quite liked the heroine just as she was – earnest, eager, and ditzy. The heroine pulls off a “perfect submission” as an innocent punishment for the hero (she’s really trying to be exactly what he wants.) It becomes very clear to Court that the perfect sub and featureless woman is not what he truly desires… and then comes the groveling. Epilogue was meh for me. Overall, why it works so well is how much it reads like a “normal” Regency romance novel with a little extra added.

Narrator: Emma Kent is great. She makes the heroine sound young and airy (and occasionally earnestly ditzy). She handled the bedroom scenes very well and in a way that pulled you further into the story. In my opinion she was integral in how the novel read to listeners. I can’t think of another narrator that would have fit as perfectly as she did.

Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins

[Rating:4]

Buy: Disciplining the Duchess, Disciplining the Duchess (Audiobook)

Review: The Duchess Hunt (House of Trent, Book 1) by Jennifer Haymore

duchess huntReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Sarah Osborne and Simon Hawkins have known each other for a very long time. Some time has passed since they last saw each other. Upon his return, a mystery is afoot. I love a story that starts off with a mystery. I have to follow because I need to know when the mystery gets solved.

Sarah was the child of an employee and as an adult she is now an employee herself. This was probably the norm back in that time period because everyone stayed within his or her “station”. Simon is a good man who looks at a person beyond their station. I’m glad that this practice has long since changed.

There is one scene where Luke, Simon’s brother shows up a little “under the weather”. As I read the scene, I have to wonder if he’s going to have his own book. And in going over to Jennifer’s web site, http://www.jenniferhaymore.com, I find out that book two titled The Rogue’s Proposal will be his story. The book will be coming out in November of this year. They have a sister Esme and she has a novella titled The Devil’s Pearl, which came out in May.

Jennifer will keep you on your toes because just when you think everything is going well for Simon and Sarah, she gives the reader a “What?” moment. At this point you have no choice but to keep reading otherwise you won’t know how things turn out.

This is most certainly a story of true love especially when nothing can stand in the way – including what other people think. If you’re looking for a story that will make you feel good at the end but with a mystery – a mystery that is not solved by the end – you will want to pick up a copy of Jennifer’s book. And if you haven’t read Esme’s novella, I’ve already picked up my copy, you’ll have plenty of time to get it read before November.

[Rating:4.5]

Buy: The Duchess Hunt (House of Trent)

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Review: A Duke of Her Own by Eloisa James

duke of her ownReviewed by Carla F.

If asked to list my 10 favorite romance authors, I doubt that I would put Eloisa James on the list. That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy her books. It is just that I feel some trepidation before I start reading one because Ms. James writes smart, complex stories with interwoven characters. The love story of a certain couple can (and often does) carry through several books. Her writing style is truly a distinctive one.

One reason for this is the time period that this book (and others) is set. It is the Georgian period where the men (sometimes the hero although not in this book) wear wigs and high-heeled boots. The women wear elaborate hair designs and clothes. The detail is intense. (In real life James is Dr. Mary Bly, a Professor of English, so research is extremely important to her.)

Also the people in her books have habits and customs that can be different from what a reader has come to expect from a romance set during the Regency. The characters remind me of those in Dangerous Liaisons. “The course of true love never runs smooth” is way too a tame phrase for the hero/heroine in one of these. The love lives of all the characters are just downright messy. At times a character’s motives is not only hidden from the reader but often from the character himself/herself.

In A Duke of Her Own, Leopold Dautry, The Duke of Villiers is determined to marry a Duchess. Why? Well it seems that Leo has not one but six illegitimate children. Leo has always supported these children financially, but after almost dying in a duel he decides that he wants to raise the children in his home, and he wants the children to be raised as if they were born of a lawful marriage. He then must find a wife, and he decides that only someone who is the daughter of a Duke would have the necessary pull to get the ton to accept his children.

Duke’s daughters are thin on the ground so there are only two currently available. One is Lisette who everyone thinks is mad and the other is Eleanor who has vowed to only marry a Duke. Eleanor isn’t a snob. She just said that because her true love (and former lover) Gideon, Duke of Astley, was forced into a marriage of convenience, and Eleanor wanted him to know that she would wait for him in case the marriage ended.

Leo and Eleanor are drawn to each other soon after meeting, but of course, Leo has to also check out Lisette as a possible wife and mother, so he heads to her father’s residence. Eleanor’s mother gets wind of this, and she, Eleanor’s sister, and Eleanor also go visit Lisette’s home.

It is fun to read the back-and-forth interplay between Eleanor and Leo as they try to decide who is going to marry whom. This book is recommended for those readers who like flawed characters who are uncertain about love but manage to find it anyway and those who like to read stories of people in tangled relationships. It is also recommended for those who love books set in the Georgian period.

[Rating:4]

Buy: A Duke of Her Own

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Review: The Desires of a Countess (The Jordans, Book 3) by Jenna Petersen

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

Just when she thinks everything is alright and the bad times are over, Ginny Blanchard finds that someone else wants to interfere in her life and the raising of her son. Her husband, Henry had died, and she for one is glad he did – he was a cruel man who delighted in hurting her and causing her unhappiness. Little did she know that this someone was Simon Webber, a cousin of the family who will act as a substitute father for her young son, Jack. He has been made trustee of her son’s inheritance and until he becomes of age, both her and her son will have to answer to him.

She wants more than anything to get rid of the man who invades her house, and will do all she can to make sure he has a very uncomfortable stay with her, or so she hopes. Harriet tries to make her understand that he might not be the sort of man who would hurt her, or cause her problems with her son – he might turn out to be a nice man who has her and her son’s interests at heart. Ginny doesn’t see it that way, though and wants to be left alone to live her life with her son and friends.

I found this story to have great characterization; Ginny is a woman who has been hurt all her life while being married to a cruel husband, so she expects every man she meets will be the same sort. She tries to come to terms with what has happened to her over the years, but she finds it hard to trust anyone now that she has the chance to go out into polite society and find another beau. The reader can get to understand why Ginny feels the way she does, and also get into Simon’s mind – even though he seems to mellow out once he is in her good company.

Simon is a no nonsense sort who doesn’t like to be kept waiting, so he doesn’t like Ginny when he first meets her, and who can blame him – after all, she doesn’t want him there. He is impatient, brusque and harsh at first, yet he is amazed at why she is so nasty to him when he arrives – he expected a teary widow, but she was something else entirely. He likes the look of her, and wonders why someone as beautiful as her is so bitter, but then he doesn’t know the whole story. He begins to like her company after a time, but he doesn’t dare tell his best friend, Adam that or he will make fun of him terribly.

It is more a case of if the two of them can settle their differences and come to an agreement, they can make a friendship in the house work, but I somehow think that even Ginny wants more than that.

The Desires of a Countess is a riveting read – it has a depth about it that makes readers want more from their heroes and heroines.

[Rating:5]

Buy: The Desires of a Countess