Audio Review: Once More, My Darling Rogue (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James, Book 2) by Lorraine Heath

once more my darling rogueHero: Drake Darling isn’t his real name, but it’s the one he uses. Drake’s father was an awful abusive man who murdered his mother. Drake watched him hang. He was taken in by a nice well-to-do family and raised as one of their own, even though he wasn’t. He can charm any woman, but Lady Ophelia Lyttleton. She knows what he is and makes sure he knows it too.

Heroine: Phe (Ophelia) loses her memory in an accident she can’t recall. She doesn’t even really know who she is, but the man, Drake, who says he’s her employer makes her feel safe. She likes that feeling even if the rest of what he says seems false. How can she be a servant? She doesn’t even know how to do the basic things a servant does!

Review: This book started off very strong for me and kept it’s pace right up to the last portion of the book. Then the story kind of nosedived and hit concrete instead of landing in the pool. I didn’t like that the author made the heroine a victim of incestuous rape in order to make her likable. Not to diminish the horror of it, but the whole thing reeked like a cop-out. I liked the heroine perfectly fine when she was an uppity chit with airs and so much pride she became a snobby ill-bred person around the hero. She could have been a product of her upbringing like Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. She even had lovely Emma undertones as her personality was revealed in little pieces here and there as her memory loss allowed her to flourish away from what society demanded of her. It’s really too bad because for me it took the book from a five star rating and plummeted it. For somebody else it might work.

Narrator: At first I didn’t really like Helen Lloyd as she narrated the heroine’s part. Her voice didn’t quite jive, but as the story progressed I learned to like her. James Adams had a very nice voice and I liked listening to him a lot. It’s always fun to listen to men narrate romances.

[Rating:2]

Buy: Once More, My Darling Rogue (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James, Book 2), Once More, My Darling Rogue (Audio Book)

Audio Review: The Duke’s Deceit by Sherrill Bodine

Sherrill Bodine duke deceitHero: Richard, the Duke of Avalon, knows he’s made a terrible mistake. His fiancé is a horribly vain and self-centered chit, more concerned with appearances than him. When he makes a decision to travel right before the wedding to visit a philosophy professor in Scotland, she informs him that if he does not return with plenty of time for the wedding, she will call it off. He’s eager to skirt the deadline in hopes she will actually follow-through on her threat.

Heroine: Mary Masterton faces a terrible conundrum. Her late father amassed debts trying to realize a stud farm to a local noble. Sir Robert insists she wed him to cancel the debts, but Mary has no interest in the creep. When a heroic stranger is knocked unconscious by a falling timber while aiding her in rescuing horses from a fire, she claims him as her fiancé. When he wakes, he has no memory at all. He recovers and sticks around fulfilling all the desperate longings of Mary’s heart… but can she keep a man she loves in the dark?

Reviews: What Mary doesn’t know about the barn fire is that it was staged. Readers will realize right away who is behind the attack, or do they? There’s more going on then what is happening on the surface. It’s a little convoluted – involving a late grandmother, a cousin, a fortune, America, and blackmail.

Mary is a kind and tenderhearted heroine. She wants to tell the truth but is convinced by many parties that to reveal her deception to Richard would cause him irrefutable harm in his condition. He might die! So she holds her tongue, falls in love with him, and then the tables are turned. He regains his memories (not unusual) and pretends otherwise to get at the truth Mary hid. I liked Richard the man when was suffering under amnesia, he’s less likeable as the Duke in his initial dealings with Mary.

Narrator: Susan Duerden is a likeable narrator. I would describe her voice a bit like a stage whisper. It does not sound like how she might usually talk and is pitched a little low and a little husky.

[Rating:4]

Buy: The Duke’s Deceit, The Duke’s Deceit (Audiobook)

Review: Love Water Memory by Jenny Shortridge

love water memoryReviewed by Karin

This is a romance, but not your typical billionaire meets servant girl. While those are not my genre to read, I thought this would be more fun or intriguing. Perhaps I expected it to be more reminiscent of Eat, Pray, Love, because of the similarity of the title. No, it is not.

And I expected more of it, because of all the many book jacket blurbs that were hyperboles. Maybe that set me up for a fall.

I thought it might be on a par with Remember Me, but it is not. While I thoroughly enjoyed Remember Me. This book was difficult.

This is a grown up romance, more real — based on dissassociative fugue (but not didactic, even though you may learn more than you’d like about this mental disorder.) While not depressing, it is not a happily ever after story. I can learn about this disorder without having to read it in a novel which I hope to read for pleasure.


From the book jacket back cover:

Acclaimed novel now in paperback.

If you could do it all over again, would you still choose him? [This is more or less an age-old question, that occurs after the ‘hapily ever after’ end of fairy tales.] At age thirty-nine, Lucie Walker has no choice but to start her life over when she comes to, up to her knees in the chilly San Francisco Bay, with no idea how she got there or who she is.”

She doesn’t remember the trauma that has caused her memory loss, a crime she witnessed when she was younger. She doesn’t remember her quiet fiance, to whom she is to be married in two months.

Together they find each other again, but the end is ambiguous. The author has intentionally left it up to the reader to determine how the romance will go. After the ending there are a series of questions to use for a book club, and an interview with the author. Maybe you should start with those first.

While beautifully written, I give it 3 out of 5 stars. (I don’t call it ‘warm’ or ‘brilliant’ or even particularly ‘hopeful’ as some of the book jacket blurbs call it.)

[Rating:3]

Buy: Love Water Memory

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Audio Review: Over the Edge (Kincaid Brides, Book 3) by Mary Connealy

over the edgeHero: Seth Kincaid has landed in some very unusual circumstances. He survived a fire, ran off to partake in the Civil War, and apparently got hitched along the way. He just can’t remember it. He wants too, though. Very much.

Heroine: Callie has been praying and searching for her missing husband. Chances are he’s dead. But when she finds out he’s alive, well, you can’t blame her for wanting to wring his neck for abandoning her. The stupid man wants to rekindle their love, but she’s not so sure she can trust him.

Review: You will start this story off with a bang. Literally. You are in the middle of a robbery and a shooting. Callie is one tough cookie. More focus on romance, less on Seth’s secret subplot. In the end it was missing something for me and I just wasn’t enamored.

Narrator: Hillary Huber has a nice range in voices, but it was extremely hard to hear the exposition in Hillary’s natural voice, which is a lower register than the heroine’s voice. It broke the flow for me in a big way and kept drawing me out of the story.

[Rating:1.5]

Buy: Over the Edge (The Kincaid Brides Book #3)

Review: Her Forgotten Betrayal by Anna DeStefano

Her Forgotten BetrayalReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Shaw Cassidy has been the victim of trauma due to awful events at her mansion where it is believed an assassination attempt made on her life has left her with amnesia. It doesn’t help that she is the heiress to Cassidy Global Research, as well as their CEO, as it has made her a target for every cash hungry nut around. As her life is in danger, she is being protected by an FBI agent, Cole Marinos, but he has other reasons for wanting to be around her.

Review: Two people are brought together in this story, but the real mystery is why Cole’s really there, and what had he done before, and what does he think she is guilty of. She is under doctor’s orders to look after herself, get well and get over the attack on her life but her bad nerves can’t be tossed aside as easy as she still has the nightmares from her ordeal.

Shaw has everything a woman could want, an important position at the top of a company, the respect of everyone around her, the huge mansion house and the ability to buy whatever she wants. She’s the poor little rich girl, but there is someone around who can ground her – Cole is an ordinary guy who doesn’t care that she’s filthy rich, even though he helps her with her problems, he still treats her as he would anyone else, using darlin’ a lot around her. If anyone can protect her, he will, and he cares for her more than she thinks. There is also the problem of the suspect shooter, and his or her motivation for doing it that still lurks in the back of Shaw’s mind.

Verdict: The story was shorter than it should have been, and felt rushed, but the two main characters are thrilling and exciting to read about.

[Rating:3.5 Stars]

Buy: Her Forgotten Betrayal