Audio Review: How to Marry a Duke (How To, Book 1) by Vicky Dreiling

how to marry a dukeHero: Some think the Duke of Shelbourne is too picky. He wants to find the perfect wife – someone who is a darling in the ballroom and a temptress in bed. He’s perfectly bored with the ladies he’s met so far and is sure he doesn’t want to court a girl just out of the schoolroom. When he stumbles into a matchmaker he believes he’s found the perfect solution. Have her find him a bride and then he’ll court for a day or two, maybe a week, propose, marry, and that will be it. Back to life as normal.

Heroine: Normal? What man could marry without knowing his bride first? Tessa Mansfield can not believe what she’s hearing from the Duke. She knows his plan is abysmal so she goes ahead with her own. He doesn’t want word to get out? She ensures two dozen ladies and their mamas attend the first round of his courtship. He wants each candidate to have the full list of charms he says are important to him? She’s positive each girl lacks one or two. She and the duke bicker and flirt the whole time and somewhere along the way she wishes she’d placed herself on his candidate list.

Review: It’s like a dating reality TV show! I liked that aspect immensely. I wish some of the dating schemes in the beginning were longer, but understand that going into detail on two dozen candidates would be a bit heavy handed. I might be one of the few who really liked the play of a contemporary theme in a historical setting. So, if you don’t think a dating contest is even remotely legit in a Regency historical setting don’t pick up the book. Otherwise if you’re looking for something light, sweet, and sexy go right on ahead.

“We must talk.”

An arrested expression crossed her face. “I do not think that is a good idea.”

“Tess, we’ve no time to argue now.”

She inhaled sharply. “I am deeply sorry for seducing you. It did not occur to me that you would become so distraught.”

“What?” Had she forgotten to pack her brains?

“You must not worry, for I will still respect you tomorrow.” She paused. “But…”

Tristan gaped at her.He must have pleasured her senseless. A knock sounded at the door. They both turned to stare at it.

Then she glanced at him and said in a rush, “I hope you will forgive me, but I cannot make an honest man out of you.”

Narrator: Elizabeth Jasicki has a nice voice. She narrates convincingly for both sexes. I chose to listen to her at a slightly faster than normal rate of reading. Overall I would listen to her again. She did a good job!

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: How to Marry a Duke, How to Marry a Duke (Audio Book)

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: A Passionate Affair with a Total Stranger by Lucy Robinson

passionate affairSummary: Charley Lambert wants the perfect life and thinks she has the perfect career. Which is great for her because she is a workaholic who lusts for her boss. He’s hot, they click, and he’s a damn good flirt. But it’s been seven years! So when she breaks her leg, finds out her boss is getting married, and must take time off from perfect job – Charley searches for something to fill the void. Her friends guide her to the perfect hobby – providing online dating help to the luckless women out on the web. She does their flirting for them and they get to meet the guys they think are great. Charley’s friend and roommate, Sam is an actor wannabe who loves women and junk food. They’ve friend-zoned each other long before the story starts. He helps her with her get her business started. It’s fun and smooth-sailing until Charley falls for a guy she’s helping another woman snag.

Review (with spoilers): So it was clear to me from the start of the sequence for the online-dating that Sam was going to be perfect for Charley. They both just didn’t know it. I never liked Charley’s boss (what kind of guy claims to like a woman for seven years and never ask her out and what kind of woman waits seven years to be asked out?) – and his behavior and general smarmy attitude just didn’t work for me. Sam was very immature at the start and grows into a better guy through a series of events in the novel. My favorite sequence was Charley falling in love with Sam and Sam with Charley but both thinking they were falling for a stranger on the internet and ghost-writing for a client. Loved it.

Narrator: Cathleen McCarron’s voice is very distinct and so is the Scottish accent. On one hand she was a great narrator lending Charley some maturity when needed and levity when needed. On the other hand Cathleen was sometimes difficult to listen to as it seemed like she read slower in certain parts.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger

Review: Once She Was Tempted (Honeycote, Book 2) by Anne Barton

once she was temptedReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Benjamin Elliot meets Miss Daphne Honeycote at a dinner party that ends on an interesting note. They are two people who don’t seem to have anything in common. But they both have issues and their working together is what will hold your attention. You’ve got to love a grumpy hero who’s not looking for love.

Ben has a butler names Flemings and the minute I read about him he reminded me of a British actor named Arthur Treacher. If you can still find the movie, you may want to watch a Shirley Temple favorite named “Curly Top”. If I had one disappointment it would be that after a while I felt he disappeared.

My bravo moment was when Ben’s friends called him out about his attitude. Daphne reminded me of Jo from “Little Women” – she just seemed to have that type of personality – I enjoyed reading her story. Even though she was going through personal issues, she still thought of others before herself. She also doesn’t make decisions based on what the person looks like on the outside.

Anne made it very hard for me to put this story down. By giving Ben and Daphne something that they had to work at together, was for me the page-turner. The romance was nice but I would have liked this book even if she had written her storyline without it. Daphne loved helping out at the local orphanage. One other disappointment I had was that there was one little girl I was hoping would end up as part of a family. But this is what’s good about a reader’s imagination, even though the author hasn’t made that happen, I can turn around and make it happen.

If you enjoy Regency stories where the hero finally realizes what’s good for him, you will love this one. It’s a series so if you haven’t read the other titles, you may want to check out Anabelle’s story titled When She Was Wicked that came out this past January. Or there’s a novella that came out this past September titled To All the Rakes I’ve Loved Before. And what’s great is that these are stand alone books but if you like Daphne’s story as much as I did you will want to read every book of this series that comes out.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Once She Was Tempted (A Honeycote Novel)

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Review: Malachim (Secrets and Sins Series, Book 2) by Naima Simone

MalachimReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This book is told in the first person.

Elena has an abusive husband. Our author shows how a woman can feel as if she’s helpless and can’t get out of a toxic relationship. This is totally different from Gabriel’s story. I recommend that you read this series in order. This is a series about four friends and this is why you should read them in order.

Naima grabs the readers attention right away by showing how cruel some men can be to their wives. But we need to remember that we don’t have to take that kind of abuse anymore. This is a story of empowerment and it is also inspirational. I know Danielle is a fictional character but she shows the reader that you can be strong and overcome adversity – love is a great incentive to make that happen.

Malachim Jerrod is a Boston lawyer and he’s a friend of Gabriel’s. Danielle Warren seems to come out of nowhere in his hour of need. She’s a woman who seems a little skittish. Naima also reminds her readers that sometimes what you do in the past will come back to haunt you.

Just like with book one, my only disappointment is that I didn’t want to put it down when it was time to go to bed or to work. This is already a fast read so you don’t need to speed-read. But you’ll be happy to know that Raphael’s story is next. The bad news is that we have to wait until April 2014 before it comes out. If you’re not good about waiting, the author puts a teaser at the end of this book.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Secrets and Sins: Malachim (A Secrets and Sins Novel) (Entangled Ignite)

Review: A Venetian Affair by Dana Mitchell

Venetian AffairReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Helen Stoddart is a singer who has caught a gentleman’s attention. Gabriel Venier has come to listen to opera at a Venetian café. He also comes to the aid of a damsel in distress. The heat is combustible between the two of them. If my book was a paperback, the pages would burn.

If you like to listen to music while reading your books, you may want to try listening to Il Divo and Il Volo. Or if you prefer opera, you could try stopping down at your local library and see what they suggest. Me, I loved watching “The Pirates of Penzance” with Linda Rondstadt and Kevin Kline. You can catch a segment below:

This is a story about misunderstandings. Dana shows how misconceptions can hurt and how people can overcome other people’s attitudes. Helen is a passionate woman but she has a mask that she always wears when she is around others. Will she ever find someone who will look beyond that mask? The only way you can answer that question is if you read this book.

Besides having just the right amount of sex, Dana puts in just enough tension that will have you turning the page. She also reminds her readers that you can’t pick your family. But best of all we get our HEA ending. It will be interesting to see what she has in store for her readers next. But while you wait, try giving Dana’s book A Venetian Affair a chance.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: A Venetian Affair

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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