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)

Audio Review: Sylvester by Georgette Heyer

sylvesterHeroine: Phoebe Marlow has a good head on her shoulders and sees the ton’s foibles for what they are. She’s also an aspiring writer who just finished penning a marvelous Gothic romance with cameos of different persons in the ton. She makes her bad guy the insufferable Duke of Salford and unwittingly creates his fictional character with a background very close to the real Sylvester. When Sylvester makes a good impression on her after the book is sent to the publishers, she’s desperate to change it but it’s too late!

Hero: Sylvester, the Duke of Salford, doesn’t remember meeting Phoebe the first time. He’s always prided himself on upholding the title with pride and dignity. To treat anyone ill is beneath him and his station. He decides the best way to get back at Phoebe for her slander is to marry the girl, but he goes about it all wrong and botches everything.

Review: In some respects you could say Sylvester is like Mr. Darcy, but they are not exact copies. Loved Sylvester’s nickname for Phoebe, “sparrow.” Super cute. I love a great nickname. I also liked the dynamics of the story. You have several side characters who add to the story’s tapestry and orchestrate all kinds of shenanigans from an ill-behaved nephew, a spoiled woman who wants the attention from being a pitiable mother without having to mother, a man as pompous as he is wealthy, and a platonic male friend who tries to do right but ends up making a mess of things because he lacks the savvy Sylvester was born with. Overall very enjoyable.

Narrator: Nicholas Rowe has a nice smooth voice. The recording is a little soft and I had to listen to it at higher volume than I normally would, but Rowe himself was great. He had a good cadence with the book and made Heyer’s novel entertaining and engaging.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Sylvester: or The Wicked Uncle, Sylvester: Or, the Wicked Uncle (audio book)

Review: Ravishing the Heiress (Fitzhugh Trilogy, Book 2) by Sherry Thomas

ravishing an heiressHero: Fitzhugh is an impoverished Earl, who recently inherited his earldom. If he doesn’t wed for money he and his family will be doomed to live in poverty forever. The idea of a loveless marriage does not appeal to him in the slightest as he is in love with a beautiful woman… but he can’t provide her with the life she deserves and she isn’t as wealthy as he needs. So, for the love of duty and England, he will marry Millie instead.

Heroine: Millicent (Millie) is a sardine-canning heiress. She’s not gentry, she’s not beautiful… and she isn’t Isabelle. She agrees to marry Fitz knowing that he doesn’t love her. She proposes that they abstain from consummating the marriage for a few years and then get together long enough for them to beget an heir. Fitz thinks that is a great idea because he can’t imagine wanting to sleep with his wife and proposes an extension of the abstinence plan.

So, of course, the beautiful Isabelle returns freshly widowed and ready to start an illicit affair with Fitz just when the married couple plans to consummate the marriage.

Review: My big issue with this book is the flaunting of adultery as the hero cheats and screws his way around London. He’s even willing to abandon his wife publically for a calculating harpy, just because his younger self thought he was in love with the woman. Ugh. I did however, like Millie, even if she took the role of doormat. I got her as a character. She loved Fitz at first site, is a young teenage girl, and believes she’s causing him more harm than good by being married to him. Sure it is a bit delusional, seeing as she’s bringing way more to the marriage with successful businesses and wealth while he’s only bringing a title and some land… but… that’s Millie. The hero has very few redeemable qualities and uses his broken heart as an excuse to behave awfully. What I didn’t understand was why Isabelle wasn’t given the cut-direct several times over? She’s clearly not “high society” even if she married well because she relentless pursues a scandal broth that would consume her, Fitz, and her children. In short, if Millie got a very determined admirer who honestly made her feel special and gave her the idea to run away from her loveless marriage, I might have enjoyed the story better.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Buy: Ravishing the Heiress

[phpbay]ravishing heiress sherry, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Review: The Sherbrooke Bride (Bride Series, Book 1) by Catherine Coulter

sherbrooke brideHero: Douglas Sherbrooke, Earl of Northcliffe, needs an heir and a bride. He secures the beautiful Melissande’s hand in marriage. Before they can wed he’s called away to attend delicate matters and sends his cousin to marry for him by proxy. Bad idea! When he returns he finds his cousin stole his bride and married him to the wrong sister.

Heroine: Alexandra Chambers, youngest daughter of the Duke of Beresford, is not beautiful like her sister Melissande. But she has loved Douglas since she was fifteen. When Douglas’s cousin proposes the scheme she is eager to do it. because she knows she will make Douglas a better wife than her high-strung sister. Now she must convince him of it too.

Review: Douglas is furious at the turn of events and takes it out on Alexandra and his cousin Tony. He’s one of those brawny alpha males who does many a pigheaded thing until he gives in and confesses his heart. You either love him or loathe him. Tony was a great side character who for some unknown reason liked an empty-headed vain woman with mush for brains. Melli was very annoying. What’s weird and disturbing is that Tony is training her like a dog to be a better person. Ick. I like Alex as a heroine and the writing was engrossing despite the story’s flaws. On a personal note, the Virgin Bride ghost was an unnecessary supernatural element that detracted more than aided the writing.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: The Sherbrooke Bride (Bride Series)

[phpbay]sherbrooke bride catherine coulter, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Review: Secrets of Seduction (Legendary Lovers, Book 3) by Nicole Jordan

secrets of seductionHero: The Earl of Hawkhurst loved and lost his first wife and child in a fire that also left him scarred. He buried his grief by working for the government in an elite group known as Guardians of the Sword. Hawk has returned to England to fulfill the honor-pact required by the group’s charter in order to lead Guardians. To do this he must wed his mentor’s niece… a woman he’s never met.

Heroine: Skye believes in her cousin’s idea about legendary lovers. In fact, she’s knows just which fairy tale hers is going to be… Beauty and the Beast. When she finds out the man she’s loved since childhood is back in England, but looking for a bride elsewhere, she brazenly enters his life under the threatening clouds of a convenient storm. If he’s going to be beastly about it, well… she’d prepared with a clever rouse to get his help solving a mystery of her uncle’s lost love.

Review: Secrets of Seduction is one of the best books I’ve read this year. I loved it. Skye is a brilliant heroine – not only clever and determined to win the heart of a man she’s loved from afar, but patient enough to see his pain and understand him. You’ll be rooting for her before she’s through uttering her greetings to the hero for the first time. Hawk is very funny – first knowing she’s a virgin, then convincing himself otherwise. Skye’s aunt is very talkative about these things and has prepared Skye for what to expect. It leads to a very sexy scene with some sponges. A classic feel good romance, you’ll love to read!

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Secrets of Seduction (Legendary Lovers)

[phpbay]secrets of seduction nicole jordan, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Review: Sonora Sundown (Americana, Book 3) by Janet Dailey

sonora sundownHero: Jim Corbett is a famous movie star. His specialty is Westerns and he plays a fine cowboy on and off the silver screen. While filming he retreats to his ranch and on this particular night decided to camp out under the stars. Imagine his surprise and frustration when a young woman enters his camp. She must be a groupie or a reporter. However as it turns out the girl doesn’t seem to recognize him and that alone intrigues him and takes him out of his cynical circular thought.

Heroine: Lost in the desert, without her horse, Brandy stumbles upon a dangerous looking man. He might be a cattle rustler, but he’s her only hope of getting through the ordeal in one piece. She knows her parents will be worried, she just hopes she makes it back before the search parties are sent. Her witless behavior catches the eye of the cattle rustler (who is actually not what he appears) much to her surprise. Of course she finds him gorgeous, but how does one talk to someone famous?

Review: Sonora Sundown is a classic Harlequin setup with a May/December pairing. He’s famous(ly cynical); she’s the naïve ingénue. There were signs of jealousy as the costar LaRaine tried to break up the happy couple. It was a little slow and I never quite warmed up to the characters. I felt the heroine was a little unbalanced – she was an odd mix of independence and codependence. The hero was determined to give nothing away until his final (first) declaration of love, which again is a classic Harlequin element.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Sonora Sundown (Arizona) (Americana)

[phpbay]sonora sundown janet dailey, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Review: Screwing the System by Josephine Myles

Screwing the System by Josephine MylesReview by Lynn Reynolds

Cosmo Rawlins has an interview with Alasdair Grant. During the interview he lets Alasdair know about his sexual preference. Cosmo also has a musical background and it might help set the mood by putting on some of your favorite music.

There’s a lot of graphic descriptions so don’t be shy. But once you get to know Alasdair and Cosmo, you couldn’t expect anything less. Also, there may be some words that you may not understand – British euphemisms. Don’t be afraid of them. Some of them you can figure out what they are by how they are used. Others, you may have to look them up – that’s what I did.

In one scene, Cosmo goes to a pub and has an interesting drink – you may just want to give it a try. At one point, Cosmo goes to Alasdair’s for a meal and it sounded so good I wished that my e-reader came with smell-a-vision. Or in the future maybe we will have something like the Jetson’s had and we can actually get to taste what we read about in our stories.

Josephine shows her readers why some people enjoy the BDSM lifestyle. She makes me wonder about all the research that must have been involved in having to write the scenes. If you have ever wondered about that lifestyle, this book may just give you some ideas of what you can try – try it, you’ll like it.

One thing that did kind of put me off was the amount of time spent on reminding me that Alasdair has money. When I watch (or try to watch) a romance and they keep bringing that up, for some reason it just seems to turn me off. On the whole though, I did enjoy the book. If you like reading the M/M romances with some BDSM thrown in, you might enjoy this as well.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Screwing the System

Review: Bewitching by Jill Barnett

There are a bunch of novels by Jill Barnett that are being released specifically for ebook format this year and Bewitching was one of them. I found out later after accepting a review copy that Bewitching is considered one of the all time best romances written and I can certainly see why.

It’s the story of a rejected Duke and a bumbling witch. Normally a story like this would fall under the heading of paranormal but it’s clearly more fantasy than anything else with the layer of the Cinderella tale winding its way through the novel. There’s even a witch godmother.

Alec, the Duke of Belmore, was told the next woman he met he would marry by an old flower seller. This is something he scoffs at because he’s planning to leave London, and its fickle debutants behind, for his hunting lodge with his friends. Not a female in sight.

Joyous Fiona MacQuarrie (Scottish) is terrible when it comes to controlling her magic. Even with a familiar, and help from her aunt, she still messes things up. Her latest mishap was a traveling spell that would take her to Surrey and instead lands her on top of a Duke.

At a small coaching inn, a gaggle of gossipy ton members arrives and to save face the Duke asks Joy to be his wife. She tries to tell him this is impossible and tries to warn him she’s a witch but he doesn’t heed her and convinces her yes is the only possible acceptable answer.

Let’s just say their wedding night comes as a surprise. *g* :P

When they finally do have sex, Scottish is hilarious when she thanks Alec for wielding his own magic and making himself smaller so they could fit together…

Barnett weaves a story that is both spellbinding and enchanting. It’s tender and sensual and sweeter than dozens of pink rose petals. Her writing is poetic and fun with clever twists and turns of phrase. If you haven’t had a chance to read this story you must as I believe it to be one of the classics.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Bewitching (print), (ebook)

[phpbay]bewitching jill barnett, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]