Review: The Trouble with Honor (Cabot Sisters, Book 1) by Julia London

9780373778454_prdHeroine: Honor Cabot, a favorite of the ton, knows she is in a pickle. Their stepbrother’s social-climbing fiancée is Honor’s once-friend turned nemesis. Honor doesn’t know who would make her an acceptable husband so she makes a bargain with a rogue in order to gain the time she needs. If he can successfully seduce the Monica so that her stepbrother’s wedding is stalled or canceled, she will have a chance to secure her ailing mother and younger sisters.

Hero: George Easton is the illegitimate son of a duke who is now dead. Like his father, his half-brother also refuses to acknowledge him. He might be reluctant to play charming seducer, but Honor knows his price. First things first though… he’s not considered acceptable. Somehow he’s got to be invited into polite society. The more time he spends with Honor the less he wishes to woo the fiancée.

Review: Honor is a mischievous devil-may-care young lady with an impeccable reputation she doesn’t deserve. She first meets George when she convinces her young male admirers to bring her and a few other young ladies to a gaming club. She sits down at George’s gaming table and challenges him to play… and ends up winning all his money before he knew what hit him. I quite liked her feistiness. I’m glad the George calls Honor on her horrible plan and labels it selfish and cruel to both parties… if only he could afford not to play along with it. His efforts are thankfully, minimal. On a personal level, I could have done without Honor’s mother steadily loosing her mind. There is one thing, I do question though… How come the earl’s death leads to Honor’s scheme in the first place? How can a loving stepfather/husband be unwilling or incapable of securing enough sums for his soon-to-be widow and stepdaughters? Especially if he didn’t fully trust his besotted son/fiancée?

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: The Trouble with Honor

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Review: An Offer From a Gentleman (Bridgertons, Book 3) by Julia Quinn

offer from a gentlemanHeroine: Sophie Beckett might be the daughter of an earl, but she’s not legitimate. She’s lived as an unpaid maid to her stepmother and stepsisters since her father passed away. One evening, she dared to sneak into Lady Bridgerton′s masquerade ball and found “Prince Charming.” As charming as he may be, Sophie know not even a second son would never marry her… or would he?

Hero: Benedict Bridgerton’s society nickname ‘Second’ relegated him to a nonentity from a young age. It’s a state of being he’s determined to break even if society would rather keep him there. At a family ball he spies a gorgeous creature dressed in silver, but before the evening’s end she vanished. Years later, his mother gets a new housemaid who stirs him. But he’s still determined to find his silver beauty and wed her… even if his heart might be leaning elsewhere.

Review: Fancy a sweet Cinderella romance? Then you’ll want to pick this book up! We start at the ball almost immediately and boy is it an adorable sequence with a splash of sexy. Their story is part magic and part harsh reality. In the magic of the ball all seems possible. In the light of day, he’s a nobleman and she’s a maid. How could it ever work? In reality, it couldn’t, but lucky for Benedict he’s falling for the same woman twice. Sensual, charming, and full of life.

Fav Quote: “I can live with you hating me,” he said to the closed door. “I just can’t live without you” — Benedict to Sophie

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: An Offer From a Gentleman (Bridgertons)

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Audio Review: Loving Lady Marcia (House of Brady, Book 1) by Kieran Kramer

lovingladymarciaHeroine: Lady Marcia Brady believes in fate, true love, and the goodness of others, until the cruelty of one severs her from her heart’s one desire. The man who did this was her lover’s older brother. It’s not until much later she finds out the fellow she entrusted her heart and virginity too was a cad of the first order. And the brother? Why Lady Marcia’s heart would want no other! A truly impossible match… it’s a good thing she’s got a school to save to distract her from all these unwanted feelings.

Hero: Duncan Lattimore, Lord Chadwick, has cleaned up after his brother, Finn, time and again. Little did he know that his brother’s one seeming attempt at responsibility was in actuality his quick escape from the parson’s noose. Luckily for Duncan, his brother’s lack of interest means he can swoop in and claim Lady Marcia for himself. For a man who never thought true love could exist, all it took was one slip of a girl to change his mind. Now he must convince her that her youthful dreams of love are not lost forever.

Review: There was much of the story to like – young/older Duncan, young Marcia’s idealistic nature, and how they are together. On the other hand, the whole school business, bastard child, and the “black” widow character could have gone away. I couldn’t give a fig about them and they took too much time from the romance and oft times were repetitive in actions/dialogue. The very best sequence after the youthful encounter between Duncan and Marcia on the ship was when Duncan runs into Marcia in London and realized he is on the wrong side of Lady Marcia’s goodwill. He must discover why she dislikes him and why she’s changed from her sweet bubbly persona into the woman he met on the streets. When he does – he blackens his brother’s eye and gives him a good licking. Go Duncan! Hot.

Narrator: Alison Larkin is a terrific narrator. I loved her voice and would listen to her in another book. Very precise “s” sounds, very proper.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Buy: Loving Lady Marcia (House of Brady)

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Review: The Soldier by Grace Burrowes

Reviewed by Aggie S.

Devlin has finished with war and serving his King. He just wants to go home and take care of the family holdings. Upon arrival he finds a waif of a child in his fountain, dirty and straggling looking. He is informed that this waif conveyed with the estate, which he finds hard to believe. He is to be responsible for this child’s upbringing.

First thing he determines is that the child needs a bath, but nobody in the castle will help, so he assumes that this waif is a male child and then finds out differently rather quickly. Second he finds a governess, Emmaline, o take care of this unruly waif and a tutor to teach.

Emmaline is running from something or to something; Devlin can not decide which. But alas the soldier in him comes out again and he is determined to find out and do something about it. Emmaline in the meantime has decided that things are heating up too much and decides to take off again. She gives him notice and takes off. Winnie, in the meantime, becomes more of a handful because she wants Emmaline back. What happens, does the hero get the girl or do circumstances make things impossible?

Review: A must read! For an English romance this has a great story to it and was hard to put down once started. I hope to find more like it by this author.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Soldier

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Review: Never a Mistress, No Longer a Maid (Kellington Book One) by Maureen Driscoll

Story: Nurse Jane Wetherby and Lord Edward Kellington have a very brief and hot affair behind enemy lines at the Battle of Waterloo. Jane convinces Edward (Ned) of her widowhood when in fact she’s an unmarried virgin – talk about your virginity surprise! Of course the dunderhead ruins it all by proposing they continue the illicit affair instead of proposing marriage. Jane disappears and because he doesn’t know her real name he can’t find her when he comes to his senses.

They meet again seven years later when Ned shows up in Marston Vale to do his duty and pay to the family, which as we all know means he’s got to get hitched whether he likes it or not and trust me he does not. The bride-to-be in question was loosely arranged between the parents and is an unkind scheming woman Ned has no interest in – though he’s quite interested in the kind surgeon he meets riding in – very interested. Now he’s just got to convince her to marry him!

Review: This is a stunning and beautiful romance. I couldn’t put it down, which I feel is a good indicator of how fabulous it is! :) There’s quite a lot going on in this novel: a second son of a duke turned soldier/spy, mistaken identity, virginity surprise, a bastard secret baby from the union, another woman/arranged marriage, a wicked grandfather, a murder, several attempted kidnappings, one real one, the heroine’s a surgeon, and at least one more thing to tie it all together. I was swept up in the adventure and rooted for the characters from the first paragraph and I think you will be too. Be sure to pick this book up if you like Regency romances and anything else I’ve mentioned to this point. I can’t wait to see what else Maureen Driscoll turns out next! I’m particularly looking forward to Lynwood’s romance.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Never a Mistress, No Longer a Maid (Kellington Book One)

Review: Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur

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I am very mixed about this book. In some ways I really like it and would give it a 4 Star rating (world-building, mystery development). In other ways I would give this novel 2 Stars (sex) and say no more. Let me explain:

If you’re looking for a new paranormal series that involves romance and mystery this is a good one to start. If however you quit the Anita Blake series because of the copious amount of sex in it, do not start this one. There is a lot of sex!

For comparison: Anita Blake gained the vampire power called the ardeur and winds up having sex a lot to not die from a power drain. Riley Jenson was born part werewolf and must yield to moon lust. Both are used to add sexual encounters of the good kind and the drama, misadventure, and trouble kind to the books. Full Moon Rising had great mystery development but it was almost always upstaged by sex: the need for it, a sexual encounter, etc.

Just to be clear, the number of sex scenes in the book did not bother me. What bothered me were the werewolf culture and some particular incidences. Riley, like the rest of the werewolf populace is extremely casual about sex. Casual in the way you might say a slut likes to have sex – anyone will do, names aren’t necessary. It’s not very attractive or admirable in a heroine.

Both of Riley’s werewolf partners are assholes and at one point or the other use Riley or rape her. Sometimes more than once, depending on which guy you’re talking about and how you define more than once – as in repeatedly during a single scene or once in multiple scenes. Unfortunately for Riley moon lust just gets her primed and ready to go despite having to slake it with either of the bastards. Also moon lust warps her mind so while some part of her knows these guys are assholes, she doesn’t care, she just needs relief and fast. Again not very pleasant.

Luckily it looks like those two will be gone forever (hopefully) making room for the true saving grace of the novel… the hero Keri Arthur built in Quinn O’Connor. Quinn has been burned in love by a werewolf. He found out she was using him for his money and also drugging him. Also, his friend ‘committed suicide’ because of a werewolf. No wonder he’s leery. In addition he hates the werewolf culture when it comes to sex. He doesn’t believe a werewolf can ever be monogamous and it’s going to be a sticking point for him if as I know he will, becomes part of Riley’s life: physically and emotionally on a permanent basis.

If Quinn isn’t the major love interest and random pups get thrown repeatedly into the mix to screw things up between Riley and Quinn I’m going to sic Gautier on someone. It won’t be pleasant, believe me.

For those not in the know, Riley is part werewolf part vampire making her a dhampire. When her brother goes missing, Riley is determined to find him before he’s killed like the last ten guardians to disappear. When a mysterious vampire appears naked on her doorstep, trouble begins to heat up quickly. Who’s behind the cloning and cross-breeding and can they save Rhoan before it’s too late?

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Full Moon Rising (Riley Jensen, Guardian, Book 1)

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Review: Wicked Nights with a Lover by Sophia Jordan

Similar in theme to the movie the Last Holiday with Queen Latifah, in Wicked Nights With a Lover, the heroine, Marguerite Laurent, is given news that someday in the not so distant future she is going to die. At first Marguerite thinks the fortune teller is a crock but when she predicts with apparent accuracy the death of the woman Marguerite is caretaker for, Marguerite is unsettled.

She does not want to live her life as she has so far. What once seemed such an easy life became oppressive overnight. Marguerite wanted more. She wanted to experience passion and see the world and so she thought to change her destiny by agreeing to become one lord’s mistress and sail over to sunny Spain for a lark.

She doesn’t expect to be kidnapped by the brute she saw beating some poor man to death in the rookery hours before embarking.

Ash Courtland is determined to prove himself and exact revenge at the same time to his business partner. The man was once his idol and mentor but now he’s just one more person telling Ash he’s not good enough. Marriage to one of the man’s bastard daughters will secure him the majority shares in the business he spent his life building and give him ample opportunity to thumb his nose at the old man.

He doesn’t expect the girl he kidnaps to resist or to be the lovely miss he met earlier in the week. He has less than a week to persuade her to marry him or their trip to Gretna Green will be a waste of time. Every time he’s certain he’s won the girl turns cold and pulls away. What’s the matter with her?

The ending sequence is a mad dash that will end in certain doom or eternal bliss. It’s an emotional rollercoaster ride you won’t soon forget.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Wicked Nights With a Lover

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Review: His Christmas Pleasure by Cathy Maxwell

I have a feeling His Christmas Pleasure will be a story that sticks with me and become an annual reread and a fond favorite. It was wonderfully executed from the very beginning and truly delightful. You won’t want to come up for air!

The next bit has spoilers…

Abigail Montross repeats family history when she elopes with Baron de Vasconia. Her father only has himself to blame when he tries to marry her off to a man twice her age, as wide as he is tall, with no manners and thirteen children! A marriage of convenience while not ideal looks like paradise in comparison even knowing that the baron asked her first and foremost because of her inheritance.

Andres Ramigio has many faults. He is the bastard son of a Spanish baron and the unexpected heir when the real one died in battle. He was not enough and his father shot himself. Andres has lied, cheated, and stolen over the years in an effort to rebuild what was lost. He is poor enough to make poverty look affluent. In his heart of hearts he knows he does not deserve Abigail but he will do everything he can to deserve her a little more each day.

Nothing goes right for the young couple from the very start. A maid gives away the plan which brings Abigail’s father charging. It’s a race to the border and a hasty wedding over an anvil and a quick hop in the marriage bed to seal the deal. Then they find out Abigail’s monies are tied up and unavailable. They are broke and worse the house, stables, and land that is to be theirs is in complete disrepair. It would take a fortune to fix it.

In an instance Andres knows once again he’s build a life on dreams as insubstantial as clouds. His failure at being a husband to Abigail is unacceptable. She must go back to her father… but then Abigail does something to humble him. She sees past his good looks into the man underneath and bets everything she has on him. Somehow they will make it work and make a life together.

The hero and heroine truly compliment one another. They are each other’s backbone. Where one fails the other succeeds. Where one fears the other gains courage. Their weaknesses are bolstered by the other’s strengths. It’s magical.

For a happy holiday read you can’t go wrong with this His Christmas Pleasure!

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: His Christmas Pleasure

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