Review: Scandal by Carolyn Jewel

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How I felt about Scandal by Carolyn Jewel in 140 characters:

@cjewel I just finished Scandal & it was completely wonderful. Thx for the past hours spent happily reading. Luv the “I hate you” love scene

I finished the book just before midnight with a happy glow. My favorite scene was in fact the scene after they got married. She was telling him how much she hated him, despised him, and deplored him with every breath as he brought her to orgasm. What makes it so hot is that we know as the reader the heroine really does love the hero, even if she’s unwilling to face it just yet. It’s toe-curling yumminess.

When it came to Scandal, I savored it. At first because it took me a bit to get into the story, which is entirely my fault and not the fault of Jewel’s writing. I’ve been a bit scatterbrained and have read several books all in a short period of time. It was good to slow down, read slower, linger longer on passages.

The way Jewel weaves the story is different than most historicals in that fact that it feels truer to life in several aspects with its depictions of personal tragedies and interwoven story of two people engaged elsewhere slowly coming together. The story takes place in the present and in the past, where the characters are now and where they were. I was expecting this divergence in the timeline and still it tripped me up once or twice. If I’m correct in my calculations Sophie is about twenty-five and Banallt is thirty-four or thirty-five in the present timeline. Or perhaps that was in the past timeline? In any case they’re a bit older than the usual romance couple.

Sophie Evans is a tragic character. She made the worst choice possible in her youth and eloped with a scoundrel. Tommy had her convinced he loved her for herself when in truth Tommy loved only himself and the money his new wife brought to his pockets. Her marriage caused a rift between her family and herself that wasn’t mended until after her husband’s and her parent’s deaths.

The Earl of Banallt, whose first name I am currently unable to locate in the book, was exactly like Tommy if not worse when he first encountered Mrs. Evans. Her plain features and intelligent blue-green eyes arrested him and featured in his dreams. He too was married and unfaithful to his wife. With the deaths of loved ones Banallt grew up, but not before making an utter mess of things with Sophie.

They meet again, a few years after Tommy’s death and Banallt is quite determined to prove himself to Sophie. He wants her, desires her, loves her but Sophie is equally determined not to let another man hold power over her heart. She is good at denial and self-denial. The book nearly ends with Sophie refusing to give ground and admit her feelings, but happily she does and the result is spectacular if a bit hushed.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Scandal

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Review: No Man’s Bride by Shana Galen

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This sweet and ultimately upbeat story has elements of abuse that form the background of the heroine. Catherine Fullbright, the eldest daughter of Edmund Fullbright, is the Cinderella to this tale. Treated abysmally all her life, Catherine has determined she will never marry, never put herself in the power of another man.

Catherine’s sister Elizabeth Fullbright is everything she is not: loved, blonde, petite, graceful. When Elizabeth gets engaged to Quint Childers, Lord Valentine, Catherine knows it’s only a matter of time before her father forces her into a marriage with a horrible man.

Attempts to persuade Valentine that her sister is as selfish and soulless as a girl could be backfire. Edmund thinking his youngest daughter could snag him an even better prospect for a son-in-law concocts a plan that switches the two daughters at the altar.

Quint is angry and a tad relieved if he would admit it to himself. Elizabeth might be the perfect society wife with all her charm and beauty, but it was shy and sweet Catherine he imagined in his bed. Despite that, he’s not sure if can ever forgive Catherine her part in the whole affair. How can he trust her after this?

For Catherine she fears he will continue to think the worst of her, that he lusts after Elizabeth and the worst part of being tricked into marry her… is her. Everything unfolds neatly, predictable in some ways and not in others. It will leave you smiling fondly as you close the book.

In addition, I really enjoyed Catherine’s spunky cousins who are all unique in their very own way. I believe they will be the subjects of future books in the Misadventures in Matrimony series.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: No Man’s Bride

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Review: Destiny’s Jewel by Rachel Kenley

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Have you ever read your name in a romance book? How about with different spelling? I rarely do as my name is fairly unique. Listening to my name as a protagonist in Destiny’s Jewel was definitely a bit of naughty fun.

Rebecca Rogers, who narrated Maestro’s Butterfly, narrates Destiny’s Jewel and does another amazing job! Five out of five for steamy!

I recently went on a road trip to meet with some friends and Destiny’s Jewel was my trip companion. Who needs the radio? Seriously! Listen to some erotica instead – it’s sure to keep you awake and get your blood pumping.

Kyra L’orrac has been entrusted to guard a royal treasure, a giant sapphire known as the Stone of Destiny. It is her first big assignment under the Royal Special Forces (RSF). She is protecting it from the incoming vizier and magician Ellard J’aron, who seeks it for personal gain and power.

For Ellard it is imperative that he retrieved the star sapphire and its two sister jewels, an emerald and ruby respectively. If he fails to bring the trio home to Dolnair he faces execution and his family the ultimate disgrace. As if Ellard’s troubles aren’t enough he is under a very strict time limit and the pretty girl who holds the first of the jewels inspires passions he should not-nay can not-indulge, even if he wants too… desperately.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Destiny’s Jewel

Side note: I marked this book as interracial because of one partner being magical and one partner being non-magical.

Review: Blood and Sex Volume 1: Michael by Angela Cameron

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Victoria (Tori) reminds me of Anita Blake. Here’s why:

  1. She’s known for always wearing a gun.
  2. Not to mention she’s a police officer with connections to the vampire scene (not widely know to humans to exist).
  3. She visits vampire clubs.
  4. Tori brings her gun into the bathroom with her when she showers.
  5. Tori even resists Michael like Anita resisted Jean-Claude at first.

Michael reminds me of Twilight vampires, because interestingly enough Tori smells to him as Bella does to Edward. He labels the smell of her to something akin to mimosas. Michael can also feel her feelings, like Jasper of Twilight, and project feelings onto her.

Vampire lore:

  • All have mind reading capabilities.
  • All are involved to some extent in the D/S scene.
  • All possess a type of thrall called: affascinare.
  • All have the ability to project feelings/sensations called: trucchi.
  • All obey or follow the vampire code/law of Alleanza.
  • Humans can bond with vampires as equals and as slaves.
  • They can be warm/hot and have heartbeats.
  • They breathe.
  • They sleep?

The bad guys are particularly scary. They make the book very dark indeed. Think vampire Mafia with terribly nasty taste in sexual preferences (torture/slave).

Sex: D/S, voyeurism, good kinky fun

Overall it was a pretty enjoyable read but there were some problems in the story telling. For instance terms are not defined. As the first in the series they should have been. That’s not to say that quite a few can be derived from connotation but the nuances are lost. Additionally, while some of the Italian terminology is similar in format to the English translation, not all of them are.

A few inconsistencies and redundancies scattered the pages, ones that should have been picked up by an editor. They stuck out like a sore thumb in an otherwise seamless story. There is some great dialogue scattered throughout the book. One of my favorites was:

“I wish I believed you.”

“So do I.”

If you can get past the small annoyances it wasn’t half a bad read. The bad guy gets caught, the good guys triumph, the couple gets together, and you close the book happy.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Buy: Blood & Sex, Volume 1: Michael

Buy Audio Version.

Review: The Perfect Wife by Victoria Alexander

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The Perfect Wife by Victoria Alexander follows not one but three couples on their journey to love. Luckily two are more peripheral and have overall less air time in the novel. The main couple is Sabrina Winfield and Nicholas, Earl of Wyldewood. The other couples are Sabrina and Nicholas’ offspring from their first marriage, and Sabrina’s friend with Nicholas’ sister.

Sabrina has for the last ten years a life of total propriety. She has been prim, poised, controlled, tame, and dull. She misses the adventure from her past—the intrigue, the thrill, and the illicit nature of her work. She could command the loyalty of men, change fortunes, and guide her own affairs. With her young daughter about to wed, Sabrina yearns keenly to let loose and be free of society’s demands. When she hears about her late husband’s last gamble and subsequent winnings, Sabrina ransacks her London home.

Having found the French letter with instructions to legendary gold buried in Egypt, Sabrina packs and sets off to reclaim herself and to change her fortune. Unfortunately, her daughter’s finance’s father seems to think it’s his business to keep her out of trouble. The annoying Earl of Wyldewood, a politician with a streak of rakish charm a mile long, is determined to unearth Sabrina’s secrets. She is terrified of revealing them, for her past could land her in prison. Under the guise of helping his son, Nicholas is following Sabrina to Egypt with the intention to protect her. However, if he were honest with himself, he would have followed her anyway for underneath her prim exterior, Nicholas suspects that Sabrina may just be the perfect wife.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Buy: The Perfect Wife

Review: Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James

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Desperate Duchesses is not one of Eloisa James’ best. I could barely focus in the beginning on all the name dropping and afterwards I was more inclined to think poorly despite all the book’s promising potential. The writing style was overly choppy and scenes jumped very helter-skelter throughout making the book a chore instead of fun to read. It is very clear that this is not a stand alone book. There are two love stories that make up this novel the main one of Lady Roberta St. Giles and Damon Reeve, the Earl of Gryffyn, and very clearly Lord Beaumont and his wife Jemma as they dance around each other. I confess I could not finish this book to find out if they got together or not due to lack of interest. A despicable man named the Duke of Villiers and Damon’s son Teddy are also entwined through chess matches, lust at first sight, wetted beds, and picnics.

Roberta was a laughing stock. The Rambler’s Magazine portrays her as a deformed mono-brow sickly girl next to her father the Mad Marquess, who is on his knees with his arms raised high pleading with God for a match for his daughter. Roberta of course is far from deformed, ugly, or possessing any disfigurement, but she can’t escape the reputation that clings to her when she’s around her father or his poetry. She’s had it, she has. Roberta will marry a sensible man, one who won’t make a fool of himself or spout poetry. The Duke of Villiers is just the right man, but he was notorious for not caring about scandal and sleeping with most of the women in the ton. She would have to trick him into the parson’s mousetrap.

Damon is also a notorious rakehell and while he and Villiers share that reputation they are as night and day. Damon possesses an honorable streak and finds himself drawn to Roberta when she comes to his sister’s home in an effort to be brought out properly into society. The more she spurns him the more he desires her. Some of the sultriest scenes are stolen moments where he convinces her to show him what she knows of kissing. But even as they exchange kisses, Roberta stands steadfast in her self-declared love of Villiers and desire to marry him. There had to be some way to win her heart, to prove to her that Villiers was the wrong rakehell and he was the right one.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Buy; Desperate Duchesses

Review: A Capitol Affair by Jamaica Layne

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By: Sasha Muradali, guest reviewer

Jamaica Layne’s “A Capitol Affair” is a underdeveloped, ghastly excuse for erotic literature that glamorizes sloppy, whorish women as independent, strong and calculated.

As a person who rarely reads romance, let alone erotica-romance, I was unimpressed and, at times, disgusted.

I initially thought this would be the story to bring me over to the juicy-side: a PR-girl, a Washington scandal, romance and drama.

From the frigid sex that overtly describe bodily fluids, to plot holes, to random characters pulled out of a magician’s hat (like Dexter, the hero’s estranged relative), “A Capitol Affair” is lacking in more ways than one.

capaffairIt’s a wonder one can get through reading the first 50-pages without rubbing their chin in confusion and speculation.

Not to mention the fact that I highly doubt most public relations professionals (and Ms. Layne get it right, in politics, it’s called public affairs) would stoop as low as to sleep with a magazine editor for their kinky, slob of a boss.

It’s a very possible, just not probable story.

The plot holes and lack of continuity start at the very beginning when the heroine, Jasmine, a frumpy, overweight public affairs director not only says she is under-sexed, but she implies she’s not the most outgoing of women in that department.

She proceeds to relieve herself in the bathroom thinking of a man, Rodney Doyle, our hero, that she’s never met.

Said man, and subject of her infatuation, agrees to have a meeting with Jasmine to discuss her boss, Sen. Grayle’s, indiscretions.

Jasmine proposes sex to Mr. Doyle – a little out of the ordinary and out of character for a woman sex deprived and seemingly shy, I would think.

During this same meeting, Doyle offers Jasmine a drink, of which she refuses claiming she doesn’t enjoy the stuff.

Yet, we see a few pages down the line, and a date with Doyle later, Jasmine chugging two cosmos like a first-week freshman, boozed-sorority girl, fainting, feeling light-headed and ready to spread eagle for a stranger.

And since when was eating meat off someone’s body, like a dog to its bowl, sexy?

Just as I started relishing the feeling of the meat on my skin, however, Rodney leaned over and began to nibble tiny bites of the fillet. The meat moved slightly with each bite he took, creating damp feathery sensations that sent warm prickles all over my belly. He ate slowly and deliberately to maximize the pleasure the food gave us. When it was finally gone, Rodney lapped up the ginger sauce that had adhered to my skin; making sure to spread it around with his tongue so I could get the most of the tingling sensations from the raw ginger root. A wonderful melty feeling headed straight for my pussy.

Needless to say, I laughed, then cringed and Ms. Layne, ‘melty’ isn’t a real word.

As the novel progressed, I began to wonder if Jasmine had any self-respect at all or if Ms. Layne was simply trying to appeal her novel of sloshing juices to men, rather than women.

I won’t touch the ginger sauce sending electric shots through her body theme. But I will say, better she just screwed a ginger root and called it a night. I was waiting for our heroine to roll over like a dog in heat and howl.

The novel speaks for itself, and if erotica tickles your fancy, perhaps check out Lora Leigh or something published by LitErotica.

I don’t think even the wickedly adventurous Miss_Figg (and all you fan fiction junkies out there know who I’m talking about) would approve of this capitol mess.
Rating: ½☆☆☆☆
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