Review: An Affair Downstairs by (Thornbrook Park, Book 2) by Sherri Browning

an affair downstairsHero: Logan Winthrop is an estate manager with a past. He was once gentry but was linked with the murder of his lover’s husband. To keep his brother’s family free of gossip he hid from polite society. But he can’t keep hiding around Alice.

Heroine: Lady Alice Emerson has no intention of ever marrying. She has a bucket list and she plans to pursue the completion of every adventure on it and a husband would get in the way. Alice wants to see India, shoot a pistol, and have an affair to name a few things on her list.

Review: Logan is a hero who will do what it takes to protect those around him, even if it is from himself. He has desired Alice for a while but saw the differences in their circumstances as insurmountable. He’s relatively easy to seduce when Alice chooses him as her first sexual experience. Don’t let Alice fool you, she thinks he’s a good choice for all the wrong reasons. Another man enters the picture and he says all the right things, pays all the right attention to Alice, and yet there’s something off about him. Will Logan step aside to give Alice a chance at the perfect match or will he claim her as his own? One nice thing about this book is that the sister isn’t evil (and there will be a time when you wonder, but she’s mostly shallow and clueless which are forgivable because she loves Alice).

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: An Affair Downstairs (A Thornbrook Park Romance Book 2)

Review: Slow Hand (Hot Cowboy Nights, Book 1) by Victoria Vane

Slow Hand-300Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Nicole “Nikki” Powell has some regrets.  And with the way her story starts off you have to feel sorry for her.  And the author does a great job at showing all the emotions that Nikki is feeling.  Wade Knowlton has a soft heart but that doesn’t mean that he’s a pushover.  The author did a great job in showing how seductive or sweet he could be.  Their first real interaction will have you chuckling.  Our couple’s second conversation shows what a great read this is going to be.  You will have to read in order to find out who won the “tug of wills”.

This book is also a great incentive to check out Montana if you’ve never been.  Another suggestion would be to check out those vacations that you could spend your time on a working ranch.  But in both instances you will want to make sure to bring this book with you.  There is tons of steam heat and you can’t blame it on the humidity – just sayin’.  There’s graphic language and some graphic sex scenes so that you will need plenty of ice or a big fan handy.  It may even spice up your love life a little.

Some authors include a character that you just seem to hate – one step above a jerk.  This is one more incentive to grab your own copy of this great book – to learn more about Wade’s brother.  And this author goes one step further and includes a real bitch that has you hoping that she gets what she deserves.

Victoria will give you your HEA ending and this book will also get you ready for Rough Rider that comes out in February.  If I have one disappointment is that I wasn’t able to get to a ranch in order to set the tone while reading this book – but never say never.  And if you would like to read a Christmas novella starring our couple, Slowly Unwrapped can be found at Victoria’s web site.  (http://www.victoriavane.com/free-reads/).

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Slow Hand (Hot Cowboy Nights)

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Review: A Rake by Any Other Name (Somerfield Park, Book 1) by Mia Marlowe

rake by any other nameHero: Richard Barrett (Lord Hartley) was enjoying his Grand Tour when he is called home to take his rightful place as the head of the household. His father fell from the roof and while alive, is no longer fit to run the estate. Richard soon discovers the financial situation is only going to be fix by wedding an heiress… which sucks because he was ready to offer marriage to Lady Antonia Pruett.

Heroine: Miss Sophie Goodnight and her parents are newly arrived from India where her father made his fortunes. Her dad is looking to sell her and his fortune to ensure his grandkids are aristocrats. Since she’s not too keen on that idea she partners up with Richard to foil their parents attempts at a match.

Review: This book sets up a love triangle between Sophie, Richard, and Antonia. As with most love triangles in romance between two females and a male, Lady Antonia was not an ideal match for Richard (or really any man) due to her duplicitous nature. All we had to do was wait for Richard to figure that out. I liked Sophie as a heroine. She was smart, capable, and put Richard in his place a time or two which left him all agog. Richard was a good hero too. He wanted to do right by his family and the estate, even when his family was using him to ensure their own comforts (a fun twist on the usual scenario where the heroine is sacrificed at the altar of marriage to ensure her family’s well-being.) The romance is sweet and lively and was one of my favorites to read this year. I devoured it quite quickly waiting to see what happened next.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: A Rake by Any Other Name (Somerfield Park)

Audio Review: Surrender by Amanda Quick

surrenderHero: Lucas Colebrook, the new Earl of Stonevale, needs an heiress to finance the repairs of his crumbling estate and projects to revitalize the lands. He goes to his former love, the perfect paragon of society, Jessica (I can’t recall her last name.) She presents him with two choices – a young woman just out of the schoolroom (almost an exact replica of Jessica) or the very independent Victoria Huntington. Lucas knows instantly which heiress he’d prefer and strategizes how to win her. His conclusion is to give her exactly what she thinks she wants.

Heroine: Victoria Huntington, heiress, orphan, has fought off fortune hunters since being in leading strings. She’s even had suitors for her friend investigated by Bow Street Runners! Not easily fooled, Victoria knows if she waits just a little while longer, her status of spinsterhood will be sealed and the real adventures of life can begin. But she doesn’t really wish to wait – she wants to experience it all now and accepts Lucas’s escort through these experiences.

Review: Victoria is wildly reckless with her reputation and that of her friend’s. She doesn’t seem to truly grasp the consequences of any one of her little escapades. It off-balances the intelligence she seems to have regarding men. Lucas manages to distract her with what she wants – from adventures to watch boxing matches in the wee hours of the night or trips to brothels dressed as a man – and so escape her notice as another fortune hunter. He’s able to do this because Jessica is circulating that he’s due to receive a huge influx of funds. So, I have little sympathy when Vicky bemoans getting caught in the parson’s trap.

Lucas is patient and protective. His scheme is manipulative, but his intentions are roughly pure. He wants to aid his tenets and bring prosperity back to the region. I loved his stodginess and how it played with Vicky’s recklessness. They rub off on each other. He becomes a little less stodgy and she a little less reckless. I loved how he’d climb garden walls for her even with a wounded leg. Very romantic.

In the novel, he decides quickly he wants Vicky for more than her money, but doesn’t reveal his true need for the wedding until it is much too late. On their wedding day, before their wedding trip, Jessica reveals all to Vicky in an attempt to beg kindness for Lucas. What a little viper! Jessica is not a paragon – she’s clearly manipulative and while her words don’t endear her to hero or heroine, there’s no true repercussion. Vicky takes it out on Lucas instead of Jessica… and then in the end the couple uses Jessica once more. I find that very odd.

Narrator: Anne Flosnik is one of my favorite narrators. I liked listening to her immensely.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Surrender, Surrender

Review: Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper

better homes and hauntingsReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Nina Linden is in one of the areas of the country that I love to visit – this would be a great book to take with you when you go to visit. She’s trying to come back after having someone try to discredit her. She’s just one of those characters that you want to root for and that all will be right in the world for her.

Deacon Whitney is a law unto himself and has brought some people, Nina included, to help him restore his ancestral home. The attraction between them is muted compared to the ghostly mystery that is afoot. I found that I was more interested in what is going on with the house then any type of romance.

This author introduces you to a character named Dotty. She’s a relative of Deacon’s and she appears to be the comic relief in this story. There’s one scene in this book that just solidified my awe in Dotty. You will understand when you read the scene where she talks about how she reads a book – that used to be me before I broke that bad habit.

This is one of those books that I would read more than once. The author does a great job in building the momentum that carries the reader from beginning to end and leaves you wanting more. I can picture having this around come Halloween. What a perfect time to set the mood, add the perfect music, the perfect drink and sit back and relax. And speaking of setting the mood, I had to laugh to myself when some music is referenced in the book–I just happened to be listening to that music as I was reading.

Now I’m anxious to see what Molly has in store for her readers now that this book has come out.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Better Homes and Hauntings

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Audio Review: Lady Caroline and the Egotistical Earl by Terry Spear

lady caroline and the egotistical earlHeroine: Lady Caroline has aided her mother in managing the estates after her father’s death. All was well until knights in the earl’s colors started to terrorize the people and kill livestock. When her mother seeks to speak with the earl, a simple request for assistance turns into something else.

Hero: Lord John Talbot is not aware of any rogue knights. He is however very aware of Caroline. He wants to be near her and decides she must be a lady-in-waiting for his mother. Caroline might not be amenable to the idea, but he has ways to persuade her… and if she’s in danger all the more reason to keep her close.

Review: Lady Caroline is one to take charge. She has an excellent memory and plans to investigate the raids if Lord John won’t. After she gets into a few scrapes… the worse getting her chased up a tree by villainous raiders, he keeps her securely within his arm’s reach. You have to agree that Lady Caroline, while she may be a tad too independent, was right because someone had to proactively investigate! Readers will find this a clean romance without sex, but with sexual interest and overtones to liven up any afternoon.

Narrator: Maria Hunter Welles has a very affected voice for Lady Caroline’s character who is 19 years old. It worked, because Caroline is young and impetuous.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Lady Caroline and the Egotistical Earl

Review: How to Marry a Marquis (Agents of the Crown, Book 2) by Julia Quinn

how to marry a marquisHero: James Sidwell, the Marquis of Riverdale, and agent to the crown, is good at uncovering secrets and finding bad guys. When his aunt informs him of a blackmailer, he is quick to ride to her rescue for she is like a mother to him. At her behest he arrives in disguise as the new estate manager and immediately has suspicions about his aunt’s companion, Elizabeth Hotchkiss.

Heroine: Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of four, is trying with few successes to raise her siblings. The lack of money is a constant worry for her as she’s trying to figure out how to keep the family together and pay for her brother to go to school. In Lady Danbury’s library she finds a silly book about how to marry a marquis. Reading it, she and her sister decide she must practice on a live subject… and the new estate manager would be perfect!

Review: I love when characters become the butt of their own schemes. When James offers to help Elizabeth find herself a husband, little does he know he will want her for his very own. Lady Agatha Danbury is a crafty old woman who shouldn’t be underestimated. She will make you laugh. A couple of characters are introduced, who are probably from the first book in the series, and didn’t add much for me. Overall, an easy read with a fluffy center.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: How to Marry a Marquis (Avon Romantic Treasure)

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Review: Rising Assets (Maverick Montana, Book 3) by Rebecca Zanetti

rising assestsReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher and author in exchange for an honest review.
Colton Freeze is a good friend to Melanie Jacobs. Colton is very business minded and Melanie is one very busy lady. Who’s to say that men and women can’t be friends? But when you add a little something extra into the relationship, why not go for it!

This in not just a simple romance – there are parts that will tickle your funny bone. It makes for great visuals. It’s also interesting to watch good friends taking their relationship to the next level. But it’s not a smooth transition and at times it looks to be a little awkward.

Our author has also included some personal conflict and family issues that intervene. How these issues get resolved is what will have the reader turning the page. This is a contemporary story but if you love sexy cowboys then you will want to make sure to pick up a copy for your library.

Life and work sometimes gets in the way while you’re reading a book. In my case, it was very hard to find a place where I wanted to stop. This made it very hard getting to work on time or getting back to work after lunch. I think this book would be perfect on a cold and rainy day – you will want to cuddle in your favorite blanket with something that will heat your blood.

The one disappointment I had was that the ending came up too quickly – I just wasn’t ready for it. But isn’t that a good thing? This is what makes the reader want to continue reading this author’s work. It’s also incentive to go back and read the other two books, Against the Wall and Under the Covers, of this series. Plus it will get you ready if there is a fourth book in the series. This is a book that you can read by itself – didn’t find that you needed to read books one and two in order to understand Colton and Melanie’s story.

Buy: Rising Assets (Entangled Brazen)