Audio Review: The Unexpected Duchess (Playful Brides, Book 1) by Valerie Bowman

unexpected duchessHero: Newly appointed by the crown, Lord Derek Hunt, the Duke of Claringdon, made a promise to his friend Julian, who is dying. His moniker among the ton is the Duke of Decisive for he makes quick decisions and sticks to them – winning many battles and honors because of it, including his dukedom. He will wed Lady Cassandra because it not in his nature to be indecisive or to change his mind. But a kink quickly appears in his plan when a friend of the lady in question insists Cassandra is not interested.

Heroine: Lady Lucy Upton will not let her dear friend be coerced into a courtship with the dashing duke. Cassandra is in love with another and waits for his return from the war. If the duke and Cassandra’s mother had their way, Cass would be wed before the fortnight was out. When Cass asks for help, Lucy does what she does best – interfere and deliver cutting set-downs. But it doesn’t scare Claringdon off. Instead he comes back for more again and again and Lucy’s traitorous heart hopes it’s because of her and not Cass.

Review: One of my favorite scenes is the verbal wit challenge between Derek and Lucy. He asks her to dance and she says “no.” He must then come up with 20 cleverer ways to turn a gentleman down for a dance. I won’t share my particular favorites, because they’re just too good to give away. I also enjoyed Derek wooing Lucy by writing letters to her appearing to be from another suitor. She sees the differences between the letters and the person and can’t quite make them fit, but doesn’t suspect Derek is writing to her.  The friendship between the ladies is strong, which is nice to see. The story itself is silly and very humorous. I would only change the timing of Derek’s change of heart and the start of his pursuit of Lucy sooner. For somebody decisive, he was too hesitant to break a promise that needed breaking.

Narrator: Alison Larkin could deliver on Lady Lucy Upton. She brought much life to the heroine and brought out her personality and wit. She delivered Lucy’s set-downs with a flourish!

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: The Unexpected Duchess, The Unexpected Duchess (Audiobook)

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Review: The Lion’s Lady by Julie Garwood

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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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Review: The Sheikh’s Disobedient Bride by Jane Porter

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Cara Lynn writes to us her first romance novel review in response to the $10 gift card contest! LRP is very happy to have her with us today! If you would like to win a copy of a book by the author of this novel please see the end of the post for more information.

It’s pretty unfair for me to review this book, as this genre isn’t my particular favorite. However, they do get published!

When Tally finds herself kidnapped by Sheikh Tair, a fierce desert warrior, she comes up against the proverbial immovable mountain. I am not surprised. Tally is a photographer, and she has taken some compromising photos, or they could be. And not only that, her translators are more than they appeared, as they are enemies of the Sheikh. He isn’t at all convinced that she is innocent. However, he is more than willing to put her into his harem and to test her loyalties more than once.

She is determined to escape, but not knowing the land, finds herself in dangerous situations, where she needs to be rescued. And you guessed it, by Tair.

Ultimately, the Sheikh marries her (as you can tell by the title) and they fall in love – or do they. Perhaps they fall in lust. As in many Harlequin books, there are banter and arguments, but underneath it is respect for the man who is always wealthy and rich. Let’s face it, who would put up with these attitudes if he weren’t! The woman is always denigrated to an extent, which grates on me after a while – or from the beginning. It seems like an intelligent woman would use that intelligence to discern what kind of man the man is and not waste her breath on verbally fighting him. Of course, part of that is supposed to be sexual tension. How to rate the sex in this book? I didn’t feel like they had any chemistry. But that’s just me. Perhaps you did. I appreciate the fact that the sex is not crude. On the other hand, she doesn’t think she’s in love with him. And on the other hand, she is not a virgin, so she knows the ropes. And they both think the sex is great.

If you want a mindless read, or if this is your genre, you will enjoy this book. I’d have preferred it, if she had determined how he governed, what his daily life was like, what the issues of survival were, how she could contribute if she were his consort. (I can’t see her ruling.) Because she is less than prepared along these lines, she finds herself kidnapped by the men who had been her translators. She is rescued in about a page. I think this could have been extended too, over some of the other things in the book. But it fits the genre. After all, the Sheikh’s mother is from the West and married his father in similar circumstances. Perhaps one of the earlier Sheikh books by another author tells the generic story of their meeting.

Rating: 1.5 Stars