Review: How to Lose a Lord in 10 Days or Less (Tricks of the Ton, Book 3) by Elizabeth Michels

how to lose a lord in 10 days or lessHero: Andrew Clifton is Lord Amberstall. On his return to London society, he realizes he is being followed and takes measures to evade his pursuers. At first it seems like a successful attempt to escape… but then his horse nearly lands on a young woman and he gets thrown.

Heroine: Katie Moore used to love horses until she had a bad fall off of one that left her with a permanent limp. Her retreat to the countryside was a decision she took knowing she would never be on the marriage mart again. Terrified to be near horses, Katie is still determined to save Lord Andrew’s horse.

Review: First of all, I love this book title. How fantastic is it? I think it’s great. I also love the series title. The hero and heroine couldn’t be more opposite. The hero is pragmatic while the heroine is overly sentimental. Katie is determined to put her foot down on Andrew’s decision to shoot his injured horse. He says it’s a fatal injury. She claims it is not. Who is right? What is humane? If the horse can be rehabilitated it won’t be able to walk or run like normal. Katie is not impressed. She wins the first round by refusing to lend Andrew a replacement horse and invites him to stay on her father’s estate while the horse mends. I’m sad to say, that both characters were kind of flat for me and I was never really involved in the story despite the intrigue around Lord Andrew.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: How to Lose a Lord in 10 Days or Less (Tricks of the Ton)

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Review: When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James

when beauty tamed the beastReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: These days kissing a man isn’t anything to write home about, but back in Regency times, merely touching a man meant ruin for the lady in question? In When Beauty Tamed the Beast: A Regency Tale, Linnet Berry Thrynne has been caught kissing a prince of all things, and the ton thinks she has slept with him – the product of their union in her womb, a royal child. All she can do is agree to marry another man, or be a woman considered the worst marriage material around.

Review: The fleeting kiss she had was with Prince Augustus Frederick, the Duke of Sussex. He had courted her, but not asked for her hand in marriage. Linnet had, without realising it allowed herself to be kissed by a sinful womaniser (who had been married once, but a woman who wasn’t deemed good enough for him). As far as her parents are concerned, what’s done is done, and they order her to marry Piers Yelverton, Earl of Marchant, an ill-tempered hulk of a man nicknamed the “Beast.” As she is to be wedded to him, what can she do to better her situation?

Linnet isn’t as naive as one would expect. She doesn’t know what impotence is, but she does know a beast of a man when she sees one, and she sees that in Piers. She soon finds he isn’t as nasty as she has been led to believe by the ton as he had had an accident when he was younger, it has since left him unable to father a child, something most men take for granted when they have the right working equipment. He has a right to be unhappy, and sad at his own predicament, but acts more grumpy than outright cruel, which isn’t in keeping with the books blurb on him being a “Beast.” By page 72, Piers is already being nice to her, so it is up to the reader whether they think he is going to be a beast or a pushover.

Good bits:

  • Prufrock, Piers’s butler – he always has something funny to say to his angst-ridden master.
  • Piers being unable to perform in bed – not for the want of trying though!
  • Everyone thinks that Linnet is with child, even though she only kissed the prince – hilarious.

Bad bits:

  • Spending too much time on minor characters.
  • Piers’ teaching session when he first meets Linnet.

It is written in a comical way, and still keeps the Regency theme through the story, and has lots of sensual scenes in it as well. Eloisa James is the author of such raucous hits as The Duke is Mine and A Kiss at Midnight, and this one is just as fun.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: When Beauty Tamed the Beast

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Review: A Passion for Pleasure (Daring Hearts, Book 2) by Nina Rowan

passion for pleasureHero: Sebastian Hall, former rake and musician, is a second son with two options available to him regarding his future. The first has been decreed by his father and the second is a favor for his brother. Since Sebastian refuses to marry and become a patent office clerk, he is now in pursuit of a mechanical device that could help in the war.

Heroine: Clara Whitmore was a former student of Sebastian’s and would have loved a flirtation with the man. Now, she is a widow desperately wishing to be reunited with her son. Sebastian just might be the answer to her prayers. She will give him the papers on the device if he will marry her.

Review: I figured out early on in the story why Clara’s father refused to give her access to her son and he wasn’t very kind to his grandson (huge understatement). Both father figures of the main characters were cold, and Seb’s mother was unnecessary. I loved the musical references and the dialogue between Clara and Seb. My favorite scenes include Clara’s proposal to Sebastian and the piano lessons Sebastian gave Andrew.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: A Passion for Pleasure (A Daring Hearts Novel)

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Review: Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins

Heroine: (Cordelia) Posey Osterhagen might be the plain adopted daughter, but she’s well-loved both at work, at home, and by her Little Sister (from the youth mentoring organization). If only that translated into her love life, but the boyfriend she’s got doesn’t want to go to the next level, preferring to have sex dates instead of real dates.

Hero: Widower Liam Murphy is back in town raising his teenage daughter so she can be close to her mother’s parents. The wealthy grandparents never liked him, seeing him a philanderer and leech. He can’t stand the women coming up to him looking to get reacquainted with the object in his pants… his safe haven is Posey… but there’s something about her that appeals to him despite her tomboyish figure.

High School Drama: Back in high school, Liam worked for Posey’s family’s restaurant. She had a huge crush on him, but he only saw the girl (Emma Tate) who ended up becoming his wife.  As high school drama goes, something was said, someone was dumped, a prom was ruined, and there were tears. (Prom always has somebody crying, doesn’t it? Sad.)

Review: I liked Posey’s background and self image and how that changed in the story. You could really empathize with her. Liam Murphy was suffering from OCD and I don’t think he ever got over it during the storyline (unlike most romances which show how flaws disappear under the influence of love) – which I kind of missed seeing. I would have like that or at least have him not fret so much about washing his hands. What I really liked was his portrayal as a father – responsible, loving, attentive, if a bit overly disciplinarian to begin with (Hey! He knows teenage boys and what’s on their minds!) concerning dating. I even liked Posey’s cousin Gretchen toward the end of the story (though she will tempt you to strangle her beforehand). Overall, charming, with a wonderful Disney-ish prom happily ever after.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Until There Was You

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Review: Lethal by Sandra Brown

Reviewed by Karin of Savvythinker

Sandra Brown has a prolific imagination, and the good thing is that every book seems fresh, no re-runs. How she does it is anyone’s guess. Lethal is no exception.

I chose this book, given to me by LRP to review. I generally like Sandra Brown’s books. I just don’t want her romantic suspense to go too graphic in violence.

The story:

Lethal opens with action right in the thick of things. And the action is non-stop from there.

Honor Gillette is the widow of a police officer, and she is home alone with her precocious 4 year old daughter, Emily, planning a birthday party for Stan, her father-in-law, when Emily spots a man lying in their yard. When Honor goes to investigate, he turns out to be Lee Coburn, who is accused of a mass murder at a local trucking company. In a matter of seconds he has taken her hostage, using her young daughter as his way of keeping her in line. He is armed and dangerous, but he promises not to hurt her or her daughter if she does exactly as he asks.

And she does and doesn’t.

But is he part of the problem or part of the solution? Did he murder the men or was he a witness? And who are all the corrupt officials and police officers, if they are? And are some of them supposed friends of Honors? And was her husband corrupt too? And was he murdered or was his death an accident? And how does Stan figure in?

Honor quickly realizes she must find the answers to these questions, because in the meantime, if Coburn is correct, someone — or many someones — are out to kill her and her daughter, to keep whatever her husband might have given her, if he did, a secret.

It is especially hard to find, because she has no idea that she has it or what it might be. And first she must convince Coburn of this — and others would be less likely to take her word for it, but would try to torture her to get it.

Complicating matters is The Bookkeeper, merciless in all aspects, who is running the show, and The Bookkeeper does not leave witnesses. One of the enforcers is good (bad as the case may be) with a razor.

What’s at stake:

The Bookkeeper is trafficking for prostitution using the Interstate and corrupt officials who look the other way when shipments of young men and women come through. Those who try to escape are taken out by the above enforcer or in other ways.

Violence:

The murders in the warehouse take place off page. Some of the razor action does not. Other violence occurs, shooting at close range; an explosion; etc.

Friendship and love:

Honor ultimately relies on her friend Tori, who is a good friend indeed. While she has had a colorful life, there’s no question she will do what it takes to keep Honor safe. She contacts a new gentleman friend and asks him to lend her $1 million dollars for a ransom, if it is needed. (I would love to read a book about these two.) He proves himself to be a friend and lover to her, no questions asked and nothing brooked to the bad guys. And Tori is smart enough to realize she is being watched.

Even the man with the razor is not all bad. He has redeeming qualities.

Heads up:

There is a severely handicapped boy, the son of one of the officers, who is cared for at home. There is some discussion about how hard this is to do, as well as how it affects their marriage.

The ending:

I won’t give it away. It’s like an ending, then another ending, then an epilogue — very clever indeed, and the actual ending is very satisfying, clever, and up for grabs, which makes it even more clever.

Does it get any better than this?

My take:

The plot is complicated, but woven together nicely. I guessed some of the plot, but it is spelled out clearly by about half way through the book. The question then becomes staying alive and taking down the operation and the bad guys. I did not guess the hiding place, but I thought I had.

I did my usual, reading the end, skipping back some, hesitant to read my way through, even knowing where it was going, taking it in bits and pieces, because it was scary, just the same.

Rating: ★★★★★

Have you read it?

Karin

Buy: Lethal

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Review: Healing Luke by Beth Cornelison

arcrev1

Healing Luke is a modern day retelling of the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. It’s quick and lighthearted with a few gems revealed towards the end on love and relationships.

Luke Morgan was on a boat when it blew up leaving him with burns, one eye, and no thumb on one hand. He feels his life is ruined forever and is scarred to go to his occupational therapist for fear of failing. Angry and bitter, Luke is sinking fast and his brother and dad have no idea how to help him cope.

Abby Stanford is visiting Florida on what should have been her honeymoon. She’s doing all the trips and outings they had planned, including snorkeling alone. She meets Luke and is surprised and hurt by his antagonism. An occupational therapist herself, albeit with a different focus than what Luke needs, Abby longs to be useful and to help.

Luke watches his brother Aaron flirt with Abby and jealousy rears its ugly head. He wants Abby for himself but is no longer confident of his appeal to women and to one woman in particular.

I loved the workings of the Morgan family: Luke, withdrawn and wounded; Aaron, flirtatious and outgoing; Bart, quiet and unassuming. Abby was such a great fit with them and I really enjoyed seeing that in a romance.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Buy: Healing Luke

Review: Gallant Waif by Anne Gracie

Story: Lady Cahill is Jack Carstairs’ grandmother and is determined to see her moping scarred and wounded grandson back on his feet and back in the market for marriage. Just because his father disowned him, and his fiancée dumps him doesn’t mean he can turn his sister away from his door and refuse to see her! That is just outrageous. Well let him try putting his grandmother off! Ha!

On the way she’ll kill two birds with one stone and pick up Kate Farleigh. Except there’s a snag… one headstrong girl. Not to worry! Immediately after Kate refuses her offer for a Season in London Lady Cahill kidnaps her. The Lady can’t imagine why the stupid chit turned her down. They have a connection! She’s the godmother of the girl’s dead mother, so of course it’s not charity!

The morning after she arrives with Kate in tow Lady Cahill decides to get the two kids together… for the animation in Jack’s face inspired by Kate is just too tempting to ignore. But Kate still isn’t interested in a Season. What’s a grandmother to do? She hires Kate as Jack’s housekeeper and dashes off to get out of the way, that’s what.

Review: I love Jack. He’s so outraged on Kate’s behalf its funny! A genteel lady shouldn’t be scrubbing floors, cooking his meals, or anything else a housekeeper does. He doesn’t understand why Kate thinks its good enough, because clearly it isn’t!

Their banter on it was hilarious – the kind of hilarious that requires stitches. :P Jack doesn’t know how to fight with Kate and usually ends up flustered and speechless with rage. She’s so calm about most of their confrontations, but sometimes she seeks to egg him on too because she loves his responses. She knows it means he cares and with her background (being unloved by her father) knowing someone cares means a lot.

I liked a lot of this novel… but

(Spoilers) I felt Kate’s secret history was very sad… she was raped during the war by a French man who took advantage of her amnesia (and maybe caused it, who knows, because she definitely was knocked over the head by someone). He claimed to be her husband and she gave him conjugal rights.

I didn’t feel her emotions connected to this made much sense. I would have reacted differently been angry or bitter or something more than accepting. Especially since all she’d ever wanted was a nice husband and kids (she really wanted kids.) Luckily for her, she’s the heroine of a romance novel!

I’m very glad that when the other soldiers show up that they don’t treat her like a whore (how she was treated on the continent by those who knew) and that they wanted to see her and Jack together. Nobody made an inappropriate advance on her from among Jack’s friends… (but someone tries for other reasons.)

The ending sequence when the group of soldiers ban together to help Jack save Kate’s reputation at a ball is so sweet and heartwarming.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Gallant Waif (Harlequin Historical)

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Review: The Lion’s Lady by Julie Garwood

bookreview

I took great pleasure in reading this novel. It wasn’t a typical romance though it held many of the typical pieces you would find in a romance. Atypical you ask? Yes! The heroine for instance was raised by the Dakota, or Native American Indians. She had to return to England to pursue the rest of her destiny and avenge her dead mother. The banter was particularly snappy between the leads. The sex too was pretty phenomenal on the scale of none to steamy. I read this in about a day and half; I would put it down and couldn’t wait to get back to it as soon as possible.

The cover on this novel is hysterical, at least my version which is pretty old. My sister-in-law picked it up thinking a boob was sticking out, flagrant nipples and all, but realized upon closer inspection that it was simply a circular diamond pin stuck to the front of the dress. To me the models look like they are wrapped up in a sleeping bag decorated in some ancient Regency pattern. For being raised by the Dakotas in America, she’s certainly pale, no sign of a tan at all – on the cover or in the book. I wonder why that is? Could it be because society would have been shocked down to their slippers and boots?

Christina Bennett is the crème de la crème. The moment her dainty foot hit the first ballroom, London society gasped and capitulated at her feet. She finds it silly and they call her Princess, even though her father has lost his kingdom, even though she’s never met her father in person. With pale white hair and the deepest sky blue eyes, Christina is a lioness. Her arrival to London was predicted by a shaman’s dream and her destiny was to seek out justice for the crimes against her and her mother.

Is it any wonder when she’s introduced to the Marquess of Lyonwood that she was shaken from her stupor? The man looked fierce and vulnerable at the same time. He held himself like a warrior and bore a warrior’s scar down his cheek. To Christina, he looked positively virile and masculine, a far cry of the fops and dandies she’d met again and again from ballroom to ballroom. He was like a lion too, lithe and predatory. When he pursues her, part of Christina wants to give in and part of her fears doing so because she could learn to love him… worse he could learn to love her and her stay with the English was only ever meant to be temporary.

With tempting kisses and secret trysts, Christina’s head swims with the heady sensations of newly experienced passion. She begs him to marry her in one unguarded moment and the scoundrel declines. Lyonwood sees her proposal as a sign of her scheming ways, not realizing that Christina’s eager passion is unrehearsed. He plans to seduce her not knowing that she’s virginal until it’s too late…

Rating: ★★★★½

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