Review: Ripe for Seduction (League of Second Sons, Book 3) by Isobel Carr

ripe for seductionHeroine: Lady Olivia Carlow is a widow without the protection of widowhood. Her husband was a bigamist, which was revealed upon his death. If finding out her marriage was a sham, having the ton know too is a worse blow. Now she is a social pariah and the men who wooed her in her first season are circling to proposition her this season. When Roland sends her a letter with a scandalous proposal she blackmails him in front of his mother with it to secure a pretend engagement. She will give him back the letter after he squires her around town, fending off the barracudas. Her ultimate goal is complete social ruin, so she can retire to the countryside and avoid the ton for good. Her plan can’t possibly backfire, can it?

Hero: Roland Devere was drunk at the time he sent that letter. Who knew she’d blackmail him with it? However, the pretend engagement will suit his needs very well. Roland entered a bet with his fellow second sons about who would be the first into Lady Olivia’s bed. It’s a bet he plans to win. As he gets to know her though, Roland realizes he wants the engagement to be real.

Review: The side plot, rescuing some girl from her brother’s schemes to give/sell her in marriage to an abusive brute with deep pockets is totally irrelevant to the story. Cut this out and the story would be more concise and less choppy. Additionally, it was weird to have the secondary romance be the heroine’s father with the hero’s sister. Mmm…kay. It also takes up as much page time as the main romance, and in some places outshines the hero and heroine. I did like the boat race and the semi-public tryst that took place there between Roland and Olivia. It was pretty titillating! The rest of good sex scenes were with the sister and dad.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

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

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Review: To Seduce an Earl (Seduction, Book 1) by Lori Brighton

to seduce an earlHero: When Alex Weston was young, he was blackmailed into working as a male prostitute in order to keep his family from London’s prisons. He has been thinking of escaping ever since, but the information that caught him then, is holding him captive today. With nothing much better to look forward, Alex decides to stay where he’s at until an intriguing costumer comes to his bed. Can he find the strength to break away from his world in order to keep her there?

Heroine: Grace Brisbane arrives at Lavender Hills quite by mistake. She’s tricked by her stepbrother and has no idea what she’s getting when Alex comes to the bedchamber. Clearly he is not an eccentric book collector. Horribly hurt by her stepbrother’s actions, Grace confronts him and learns the family’s finances are not good. Apparently her stepbrother wanted to help her catch the eye of the Earl of Rodrick, a man Grace has been infatuated with for a while. The Earl prefers experienced women over virgins. Can she gain enough experience to seduce an earl without complete ruination? One way to find out!

Review: I got tired of Alex’s never-ending pity party. The picture painted at Lavender Hills wasn’t ideal, but neither was it so foul that I felt Alex was truly trapped. (Is this a double standard? Yes, it is.) He was trapped mentally in his own apathy about his situation more than anything else. Sure, there are a couple of big brutes standing guard in the halls – it’s called a window. Alex won’t take that escape either because the blackmailing madam of the house would send said brutes to find him. For a man capable of wooing any virgin, he wasn’t as manly or ferocious in his sex appeal and I had hoped. Grace and Alex, when they are together, kept the story moving forward and kept my focus. It’s entertaining, quick, and good for passing time at the airport. I look forward to learning more about Gideon.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: To Seduce an Earl (The Seduction Series)

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Review: Too Dangerous to Desire (Lords of Midnight, Book 3) by Cara Elliott

Too Dangerous to DesireHeroine: Sophie Lawrance knows passionate love doesn’t always conquer all. It certainly didn’t help her in the past, when she felt it her duty to refuse her heart. Instead of fighting for her, her lover ran away. And it definitely can’t help her now that she is in the middle of a blackmail scheme meant to ruin her father’s reputation and her sister’s happiness. Or can it? Can she trust the pirate with the face of her first love to help?

Hero: Cameron Daggett, the man whose hand in marriage Sophie once rejected, is good at living in the shadows. When his present unexpectedly collides with his past, he has to know what brings her back into his sphere. Her meeting with a shady bloke piques his curiosity and she his passions. His skills as a thief will finally get some good use if he can manage to steal her heart again.

Review: For the record, the nickname Sleuth Hound is not as sexy as Wolfhound. Cam might have been better named Ghost Hound, because he can slip in and out of people’s homes stealing what he most desires. Virtuous ladies’ virtue especially! There are shades of Jane Austen’s Persuasion in the setup of this third book in the Lords of Midnight trilogy. Perfect, if you are in the mood for second chance romance.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Too Dangerous to Desire (Lords of Midnight)

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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)

Review: Can’t Buy Me Love (Crooked Creek, Book 1) by Molly O’Keefe

can't buy me loveReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Wayne “Luc” Baker is an NHL player with health issues. He also shares an apartment with his sister, Victoria Schulman, and his nephew Jacob. Lyle is his 89 year old father who is engaged to a much younger woman named Tara Jean Sweet. Lyle is also the owner of Crooked Creek Ranch.

Lyle is a man who is a puppet master that wants all his puppets in one place and that place is the ranch. Tara Jean is the means to get the puppets together. It will be interesting to see if the master gets his wish.

Tara Jean gives the reader a hint about a habit she can’t break. It’s one habit that you don’t mind having problems with. Wondering what her habit is? You’ll just have to read this story in order to have your question answered. Her addiction will have you laughing.

With the title you think it’s all about romance but Tara Jean’s past adds some suspense to the storyline. And this is where the trouble begins. This type of trouble always makes me uneasy. I just don’t see how it can ever come out good – a lot of people always get hurt. Molly does a great job of getting through the trouble and gets my interest back.

The only downside is I kept waiting for it to reappear and make me uneasy again. But Luc is there to make sure that the trouble goes away. We also see, toward the end, some interaction between Victoria and Eli. I was happy to see that their story will be a sequel. I’m definitely looking forward to reading book two of the “Crooked Creek” series titled “Can’t Hurry Love” coming out at the end of this month. You can also watch a short book trailer for this book on Amazon, Video: Can’t Buy Me Love.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Can’t Buy Me Love

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Review: Too Wicked to Wed (Lords of Midnight, Book 1) by Cara Elliott

too wicked to wedHero: The Earl of Killingworth, Connor Linsley, is not your usual Earl of the Realm. He works for a living earning money from his gambling den and brothel that carters to men of the peerage. He hides this fact from others by pretending to be just any other high roller in the establishment. Like any alpha he keeps his heart guarded, but the fiery Alexa gets to him like no other could – when she lays claim to half of his business and refuses to give it back!

Heroine: Lady Alexa Hendrie is fierce. She tracks her brother to The Wolf’s Lair and demands of Connor his location. The price for that information is a kiss (and it will knock your socks off and Connor’s too). Later unbeknownst to her, Connor is robbed at the gaming tables and from his safe. When his pledge of half the business (which is exchanged for money from a friend) comes across her path–while she’s dressed as a man playing cards–she wins it and uses it to blackmail Connor into helping her locate her wayward brother.

Review: The story really picks up the pace when Connor gets shot and the two of them flee to Linsley Close, Connor’s abandoned estate by the coast. There they pose as newlyweds while Connor convalesces. It’s pretty funny when the housekeeper walks in on them to bring Connor sustenance. These two lovebirds have got some pretty blistering chemistry. There’s lots of kissing – the really hot kind!

I also like the other lords who are Connor’s friends: Gryff and Cam. Gryff is going to have to lay off the booze, it’s not that attractive, but his other qualities make up for it (for now). Cam is seriously hot and a thief. I want to read his book. Yum!

Favorite Quote:

“Why the devil does she feel she must take such awful risks?”

“Is that a rhetorical question,” asked Cameron. “Or do you wish for an honest answer?”

[…]

“Because she loves you. She’s willing to risk anything to win your heart.” Cameron crossed one booted leg over the other. “And you, you ungrateful cur, ought to have your teeth kicked out through your arse if you don’t appreciate what a rare and wondrous gift that is.”

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Too Wicked to Wed (Lords of Midnight)

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Review: His Leading Lady by Paula Martin

Heroine: Jess Harper is the twin sister of a rising West End actress. But when her twin, Lora, goes missing, Jess is begged to step in by her agent. With Lora off the map and her career in jeopardy, Jess does what she’s always done – help! But the theatre director is both too arrogant and too sexy and he’s bound to see through her act.

Hero: Kyle Drummond needs his leading lady. When he discovers Jess is playing Lora he decides the better twin is present and gets her to take over Lora’s role in his new show. Jess is everything he’s looking for both on stage and off – but can he convince her nothing was happening between him and Lora besides contractual obligations?

The Show’s Financial Backer: Watch out for this guy!

Review: Sometimes it’s nice to dream of the life you didn’t choose, the paths you didn’t take, but what happens when the dream you let go of comes back into your reach again? That’s what happens to Jess – she chose a life off the stage, but with her sister’s disappearing act suddenly she has a chance at the limelight again. It’s very tempting, but her worry about her sister keeps her from fully believing the life she stepped into. Can she give it up? Can she give up Kyle? It was a nice read, a little lacking in tension and not enough loving between hero and heroine for my tastes. Could have used more!

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: His Leading Lady

Review: The Seven Year Witch by Jodi Redford

Reviewed by Susan S.

Summary: Book Two in That Old Black Magic Series

Clarissa Miles (head mistress of the Beaumont Coven house) is a little stressy lately. Seven years ago she sold her soul and now it’s collection time! Keeping up the everything’s-fine pretenses is starting to take its toll. And whoever said that every cloud has a silver lining wasn’t headed to Demonsville. Yes, time really does fly when you have only one week left to live.

So, what to do with seven days? Well, earth-shattering sex with her wolf familiar for one. But who is she kidding? It’s not meaningless sex if strong emotions are in play. The closer Logan Scott gets to her heart, the farther she’ll retreat. With no future to offer Scott, Clarissa will lie/deceive/pretend that his love is unrequited. Logan though, is about to teach his sexy witch a lesson. That even in the direst of circumstances, hope can still be found!

Review: The second book in That Old Black Magic series had more emotionally gripping conflict than the first novel, the freakiest antagonist I’ve encountered in like…ever, lots of scorchingly delicious sexual encounters, and a love that really does conquer all.

After reading The Seven Year Witch I felt as if I’d just returned from one hell of a trip. Talk about true escapism. An author that causes me to lose myself in a story-is my kind of author. I’m off! Book three’s calling. I hear it includes a sheriff (love those) and well, there’s more to him than meets the fin. Was that too corny? Lol. Let’s just say, book three has a real shark of a man. Reviewer laughs at her own joke.

Recommendations: Do you like bad boys? How about a werewolf who thinks he’s the be-all, end-all in bed because let’s face it…he really is! This novel is for readers who enjoy good vs. evil plots. Paranormal romance readers will be happy to hear there’s: several witches, a hot-as-sin werewolf, and an antagonist who’s really sinful. No. Really! We’re talking seven deadly sins here. The sexual intimacies are biting your bottom lip good! And if you enjoy love conquers all HEA romances, then this novel over qualifies.

Favorite Scenes:

Scene # 1: Three words: edible massage oil.

Scene # 2: When Logan is getting in touch with his, um, can’t say manhood. How `bout werehood!

Scene # 3: There’s a scene where Clarissa is at the top of a stairwell and Logan looks up at her. Time just stands still as their eyes meet. Loved that!

Scene # 4: When the author has all seven sins together in the same room.

Comedic Touch: Scott’s friends tease him because of his permanent erection state as of late.

Disclaimer: I received this novel free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

What’s Next? Books three and four.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Seven Year Witch

Samhain Publishing, Ltd., Copyright 2011, Paranormal Erotic Romance, ebook, 433 KB, ASIN# B004TDN7UE, ISBN# 978-1-60928-477-0.