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: The Bad Baron’s Daughter by Laura London

bad baron's daughterHeroine: Katie Kendricks’ father has disappeared. He’s done it a time or two before but has never been gone for so long. It wouldn’t be a problem, except his creditors are breathing down Katie’s neck and frightening her. Her plan to reach her friend’s bar, The Merry Maidenhead, in London is met with success… but her plans to stay do not when she upsets a regular brute in the bar who wants to show her a lesson or two.

Hero: Lord Linden is a rake of the first order. He goes from one amusement to the next as the mood strikes him. He is easily bored with the London life, but what gentleman isn’t? Having once worked for the War Office, he recognizes on second look that the barboy is in fact a bargirl and is moved to rescue her from the lowlife attempting to teach her a lesson in the middle of the bar. When the owner of the Merry Maidenhead pimps her out, he’s disgusted at the man but pays him fifty pounds to save the girl from the other brute lined up… the more he learns about the girl, the more he’s certain he’s not good for her, but clearly someone needs to watch out for her as someone wants her dead.

Review: The hero, Lesley Byrne, Lord Linden, has made his way onto my favorite heroes list. He reminds me of Justin Alastair from These Old Shades, who is also one of my favorite heroes. There’s a striking contrast between his elegant ennui and his sincere desire to protect the heroine… even from himself. He wants her desperately, but can’t bring himself to debauch her and take her innocence. He’s frustrated and irritated by these new feelings and can come across cruel, violent, or forgetful, but he’s the opposite underneath his outward shell. That dichotomy is what makes it work for me.

The writing is nearly flawless. There was a time or two when a character would make an observation mentally and another character would also expound on it mentally as if in agreement. I had to reread those passages to see if I had missed something. Overall this was a delightful Regency romp that I wish I had known about sooner! It is well worth getting a hold of this book because I believe you will want to keep it on your favorite’s shelf and revisit often. I know that is what I will be doing.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: The Bad Baron’s Daughter

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Review: The Trouble with Honor (Cabot Sisters, Book 1) by Julia London

9780373778454_prdHeroine: Honor Cabot, a favorite of the ton, knows she is in a pickle. Their stepbrother’s social-climbing fiancée is Honor’s once-friend turned nemesis. Honor doesn’t know who would make her an acceptable husband so she makes a bargain with a rogue in order to gain the time she needs. If he can successfully seduce the Monica so that her stepbrother’s wedding is stalled or canceled, she will have a chance to secure her ailing mother and younger sisters.

Hero: George Easton is the illegitimate son of a duke who is now dead. Like his father, his half-brother also refuses to acknowledge him. He might be reluctant to play charming seducer, but Honor knows his price. First things first though… he’s not considered acceptable. Somehow he’s got to be invited into polite society. The more time he spends with Honor the less he wishes to woo the fiancée.

Review: Honor is a mischievous devil-may-care young lady with an impeccable reputation she doesn’t deserve. She first meets George when she convinces her young male admirers to bring her and a few other young ladies to a gaming club. She sits down at George’s gaming table and challenges him to play… and ends up winning all his money before he knew what hit him. I quite liked her feistiness. I’m glad the George calls Honor on her horrible plan and labels it selfish and cruel to both parties… if only he could afford not to play along with it. His efforts are thankfully, minimal. On a personal level, I could have done without Honor’s mother steadily loosing her mind. There is one thing, I do question though… How come the earl’s death leads to Honor’s scheme in the first place? How can a loving stepfather/husband be unwilling or incapable of securing enough sums for his soon-to-be widow and stepdaughters? Especially if he didn’t fully trust his besotted son/fiancée?

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: The Trouble with Honor

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Review: No Good Duke Goes Unpunished (Rule of Scoundrels, Book 3) by Sarah MacLean

no good duke goes unpunishedReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: William Harrow, aka the Killer Duke or Temple is accused of murdering Mara Lowe before her wedding day. He was not able to receive his rightful title. Now he works at a successful casino, but even still that one night completely destroys any good aspects of his reputation. Temple is annoyed to see Mara return to him with a proposal even though she should by rights be dead. This proposal could clear his now tarnished name, offering to come back into polite society in order to put right his reputation for good, but what does she want in return?

Review: When the rules of the ton are broken…no good duke goes unpunished, or at least that’s the theory. As the third book in the Rule of Scoundrels series, the first being A Rogue by Any Other Name, and the second one One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (of which I thoroughly enjoyed) this one is a jewel among paperbacks with a cover that belies what is really inside. Of all the opening lines of a novel, this one is this years’ favourite and I’m sure it will stick in the mind of other readers too. Temple fights at the aptly named Fallen Angel gambling establishment in Mayfair after losing his title, family and right to his fortune. His manager, Chase has a long list of high standing men who want to fight him, a well-known killer duke and live, or win (which they don’t) but there is one man he will never face no matter what the odds, and this seems to be his Achilles heel in the story.

Good Bits:

  • Chase saying he doesn’t believe he killed Mara.
  • The fight scene at the beginning with Temple and Montlake – I was surprised at how lethal the blows were and how realistic.
  • Temple won’t fight Christopher Lowe – could it be that he is innocent of his sister’s murder?
  • Lavender, the MacIntyre piglet…awww.

Bad Bits:

  • None.

Final Thoughts: The general plot of Temple getting revenge on Mara aside, he isn’t seeing the whole picture. While he sees only having his revenge on her for what she did to him, he doesn’t see her as a governess who does her best to look after the illegitimate boys at the orphanage. These boys are the love children of some of the most high standing men in London who would rather not have their illicit affairs made public. She struggles to keep the boys fed and the orphanage heated at winter, so her deal with Temple is promising to her if only to give the boys a decent life. Temple starts out by only wanting revenge and sets the ground rules for it with Mara, but when he gets too close to her, he finds he can’t let her go despite how he feels about her. No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean is one of the best romance novels of 2013 and Sarah MacLean is a writer I will look out for in the future.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: No Good Duke Goes Unpunished

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Review: Her Wanton Wager (Mayhem in Mayfair, Book 2) by Grace Callaway

her wanton wagerHero: Gavin Hunt owns the Underworld, a premiere gambling hell in the heart of London. He has plans to enact revenge upon the man who scarred him and left him for dead while setting a house on fire. When Gavin survived, he was blamed for the fire and was imprisoned aboard ship anchored on the Thames for years. Clawing his way out and to the top wasn’t easy, and now the revenge he’s wanted for so long is finally in his grasp and nothing will stop him from taking it, not even his heart.

Heroine: When Persephone “Percy” Fines discovers her brother has gambled away all of his shares to the family business to Hades himself, she wants to save her brother from a terrible fate. Going toe-to-toe with the man she wagers her virginity against the shares. It is a wager she plans to win, because there is no other choice, but unfortunately she rolled the die and must resist seduction for six nights. Can she love the man who holds her family’s fate?

Review: I loved the Greek mythology overtones to this story, the heated seductions, the night in the Vauxhall Gardens (chase sequence too) and the snippets of Percy’s novel at the top of each chapter. I especially loved that while revenge was Gavin’s original goal, he became so smitten with Percy that he wanted to win the wager to have her not destroy her. He was constantly trying to figure out how to achieve both outcomes, but mostly how to win Percy. At the end in the epilogue, I thought their last hashing out of who won the bet to be very cute. Her Wanton Wager is a great read that is sexy, fun and very enjoyable!

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Her Wanton Wager (Mayhem in Mayfair #2)

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Audio Review: Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed (Sons of Sin, Book 1) by Anna Campbell

seven nights of sinHero: Jonas Merrick is the illegitimate son of the late Viscount Hillbrook. In his youth, his cousin, William Merrick, the new Lord Hillbrook, slashed his face deep leaving him permanently disfigured. His deepest desire to exact revenge on William and his plans are going smoothly right up until William’s wife, Roberta, sends her virgin spinster sister to pay of the debt she owes Jonas. What the hell! Intrigued by her gumption and her beauty, Jonas strikes a new deal – and might just wind up offering his heart in the bargain too.

Heroine: Sidonie Forsythe will not let Jonas ruin her sister, who is in a very difficult situation at home, so she takes Roberta’s place in the beast’s bed. When they meet, she is able to change the agreement a little bit. Instead of taking her virginity outright, Sidonie is allowed to resist, if she can, his charms. Seven nights in Jonas’ bed, sparks a desire in her heart to be with him for always and she wants to give into it, but the secret she holds could be her undoing.

Review: Despite the fact that Jonas is not quite beastly enough, and the Gothic atmosphere is not quite heavy enough, the story is undoubtedly a great retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I was very drawn to both the hero and heroine. Their chemistry was off the charts. Like Sidonie, you will want to give into Jonas. His emotional scars are deep and you want to see them healed. If you are like me, you will be grabbed by the get go and be sad to see it end.

Narrator: Antony Ferguson has a wonderful voice. I loved to listen to him. He can read me a historical romance any time he wants.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed (Sons of Sin)

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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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Review: Two Sinful Secrets (The Scandalous St. Claires, Book 2) by Laurel McKee

two sinful secretsHero: Dominic St. Claire and his brothers continue to uphold a feud that started many years ago with the Huntingtons, involving older relatives on both sides. They brothers blame the Huntingtons for the loss of their family fortune. Revenge would be sweet and Lady Sophia would be perfect target. Dominic decides he will elope with her and then dump her at the altar, forever ruining her. What will he do, however, when his treacherous heart gets involved?

Heroine: When Lady Sophia Huntington, now Mrs. Westman, was younger refused to give up a man she thought she loved was banished from her family’s bosom. He wasn’t such a prince after all. Widowed now, Sophia is betting against the house in order to survive and maybe to finally make her way home. But blast it all! She can’t possibly win her family’s forgiveness if she shows up with Dominic St. Claire. Can she?

Review: I could have done without the obsessed stalker hunting the heroine. In my opinion, it was superfluous to the storyline. The revenge plot could have had more oomph. It’s hard to feel for somebody holding onto a grudge that really isn’t his to hold. One of the hottest scenes in the book is the very first chapter. It introduces both characters and a meeting they had prior to the start of the main action. She’s a masked figure gambling in his family’s gaming establishment. Sophia knows who Dominic is, but he does not know her. They share quite a passionate kiss before she breaks it off and runs away. It’s a moment neither party can forget or the reader.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Two Sinful Secrets (The Scandalous St. Claires)

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