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:5]

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:4.5]

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:3]

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

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Get into Bed with Laurel McKee (Author Interview)

two sinful secretsKeira: Why do the St. Claires hate the Huntingtons? Is it mutual – like in Romeo and Juliet? Montagues vs Capulets?

Laurel McKee: I have totally loved “Romeo and Juliet” ever since I saw a Shakespeare in the Park production when I was about 8!  Who doesn’t love the idea that love can overcome hatred?  Or the thrill of falling for the wrong person??  With the St. Claires and the Huntingtons it’s a bit more one-sided than with the Capulets and Montagues.  The St. Claires have long blamed the Huntingtons for ruining their family’s fortunes (through an ill-advised marriage 200 years ago!), but the Huntingtons, being a lofty ducal family, don’t even remember this little tidbit of history.  They’ve crushed so many of the little people, after all. 🙂  But when they find out and the two families finally have a confrontation, it should be quite explosive!

Keira: A heroine who gambles? What is she willing to wager for love?

Laurel: What a great question!  At the beginning of this story—not much.  She wagered on love once and eloped, only to have it all end in disaster.  She thinks she is done with love, but as we know love isn’t done with her…

Keira: He’s a cad – but we love him! Dominic plans on  eloping-and then abandoning his bride, Lady Sophia. But does he have the heart?

Laurel: LOL!  Much like Sophia, Dominic isn’t nearly as bad or hard-hearted as he thinks he is.  In fact, I think he is secretly a great romantic (though he would never agree).  He has just never met a woman who can match him like Sophia can, and make his see his true self.  I did love Dominic so much!

Keira: What would you be willing to wager on love? Could you ever fall in love with your fiercest enemy?

Laurel: I’m not sure I’ve ever had a fierce enemy!  Though I have definitely met people who annoyed me.  I think it would be great fun to see a different side to them and realize that we could understand, even love, each other.  But I just got married last month to a man I liked from the very moment I met him, so I guess I will never find out!  (It’s fun to read about though, isn’t it?)

Keira: What is next on your plate? What inspired you to start the project?

Laurel: I have a lot going on right now!  The most exciting project is a whole new project in a whole new genre.  “Murder at Hatfield House,” the first of the Kate Haywood Elizabethan Mysteries, will be out in October 2013.  And I am thinking about what might happen to the St. Claires next…

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

Get into Bed with Isobel Carr (Author Interview)

ripe for seductionKeira: How does one join the League of Second Sons? What credentials are needed beyond being a second son?

Isobel Carr: The way I pictured the whole thing starting was with a bunch of disgruntled younger sons forming a plan over a late night of drinking after the Hardwicke Marriage Act passed in the 1750s. The Act brought huge changes to England, especially when it came to clandestine marriages. It’s the reason all those Regency couples raced off to Gretna Green (the first town on the Great North Road after you cross the border into Scotland).

Suddenly, a runaway marriage with an heiress was a much harder thing to accomplish. This was a BIG deal to younger sons (and was one of the reasons it took forever to get the act through Commons, which was stuffed to the gills with younger sons).

So initially, the club was just the band of younger sons who formed it, but over the years, it would have expanded as they invited others to join, and then the membership was expanded from just second sons to all younger sons. They don’t take politics (Whig/Tory) into account, and they don’t take school (Eton/Harrow) into account either. Like all clubs, you’d need a sponsor (another younger son), but I don’t see it as something as formal as White’s, where you had to be voted in.

Keira: What juicy tidbit does Lady Olivia Carlow have on Roland Devere? Must be something huge to blackmail him into playing her betrothed during the London season!

Isobel: The tidbit is the letter he sends. It¹s rude. It¹s presumptuous. And it would be hugely embarrassing for him if his parents ever found out. I based it on a real life event from the mid-eighteenth century, where a young rake sent a starchy widow just such a letter. Furious, she went directly to his parents and introduced herself as their future daughter-in-law. The young man, who DID care about his parents’ good opinion, was trapped between a rock and a hard place. Call the lady a liar and let his parents see that letter, or accept her version and hope to plead his way out later. The lady in question did eventually brake off the engagement and let the man off the hook (I don’t think she ever had any intention of marrying him, given how horrible her first marriage had been), but I was really taken with the chutzpah it took to respond the way she did. So much better than just pitching a fit.

Keira: Which do you love better: blackmail romances or wager-based romances? Or in the case of Ripe for Seduction, both!

Isobel: I like anything naughty that can both bring a couple together while also serving as a hurdle for them to get past. I¹m not always a huge fan of the wager-based ones because they so often all take the same tack of having the woman find out and be hurt. I want to see something a little different. Something with a twist.

Keira: How do you define love and can love survive said blackmail and wagers?

Isobel: In real life, I define love (and friendship) by who gets a kidney. When I’m writing, it’s not much different. The person you love most, in that sweeping romantic way, may drive you nuts, may piss you off, may do things that make you want to cave their head in on occasion, but when push comes to shove, you¹d do anything for them.

Keira: What is next on your plate? What inspired you to start the project?

Isobel: I’d always planned The League of Second Sons as a six part series, so I have three books to go (Marcus Reeves, Anthony Thane, Dominic de Moulines). Next up is Ripe of Revenge (title subject to change, LOL!). It’s my take on the secret baby plot. I’m also tinkering with a few ideas for novellas. I love writing short!

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