Review: Knight of Love by Catherine LaRoche

knight of loveHero: The hero has a complicated name. He is Wolfram von Wolfsbach und Ravensworth, also known as Wolf, the English Earl of Ravensworth. He first meets the heroine when he’s undercover as a blacksmith in Prince Kurt’s court, where he finds her being publicly whipped for a small infraction to the amusement of the Prince. Barely able to contain himself, Wolf watches and then volunteers to carry Lenora upstairs where he gives her a large knife for protection.

Heroine: Despite appearances to the contrary, Lady Lenora Trevelyan is not a damsel in distress. She is resourceful and determined to make her escape on her own… no knight in shiny armor needed. She successfully escapes her abusive fiancé, Prince Kurt von Rotenburg-Gruselstadt and is galloping toward freedom and safety with the English/German diplomat… and gets captured by rebels just days down the road. The head of the rebel camp is none other than the blacksmith who gave her the knife.

Review: The hero is an unusual mix of beta and alpha characteristics. He’s very flowery in his language, chivalrous, and believes in love at first sight, but is also skilled at war, believes in civil rights of man (and woman,) and carefully controlling to ensure all is in his favor. For my tastes, I would have had less flowery language and more determined wooing. Wolf arranges a wedding to Lenora in order to protect her – this battlefield wedding is hardly legit as she didn’t give her consent. Still, he consummates the marriage in a forced seduction that evening. It is a heartbreaking (and erotic) experience for both of them which makes it successful. That night destroys what trust Lenora had in him. Now she’s plotting a new escape… but it’s harder to break the touch of silk than the touch of iron. There’s also an erotic scene where Lenora is in full control of Wolf and that is also successful as it is healing for both. I felt the story fell short when it changed locations from Germany to England. It was a night and day difference and the smoldering passion cooled quickly. Definitely a memorable read.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Knight of Love

Audio Review: A Night Like This (Smythe-Smith Quartet #2) by Julia Quinn

night like this julia quinnHero: Daniel Smythe-Smith, the Earl of Winstead, has finally returned to England after several years spent abroad, living in fear of his life. He’s gotten good at looking over his shoulder, but he must admit it’s really nice to not need to do that. When he meets his cousin’s governess, Daniel knows she hiding something and he is intrigued and lays a hot pursuit to win her affections. But even with the assurances of his friend, a man he shot and nearly killed over a card game, a powerful and ruthless enemy is after him still. But who? He doesn’t like that whoever it is, is willing to put Anne in danger.

Heroine: Anne Wynter is not who she appears to be, a governess to three young ladies. Her past hides a secret she must run from constantly and use every precaution to keep. A change of name, sending letters by different post offices, moving to London, it is all to avoid a single man who broke her heart at 16. Anne knows she was born and bred a lady, but as tempting as Daniel is, she doesn’t know if she can risk her heart once more.

Review: Daniel is a beta hero, perhaps not by choice, but because of circumstances. A young noble man on the run is unlikely to develop alpha tendencies, but that said, he’s clever in his pursuit of Anne and arranges meetings all the time when she least expects him. In real life, I’m not sure such an approach would work, because Anne gave a lot of “no” signals which Daniel ignored. Anne gives as good as she gets however, and punishes Daniel for his sneakiness by making him participate in playacting his cousin’s original play (which is terrifyingly horrendous and involves unicorns). The best aspect to both characters is that they never let the horrible set of circumstances they found themselves in to bitter them. Both Daniel and Anne stayed true to their original natures, perhaps a little more cautious and wiser, but ultimately fundamentally the same. I loved their meet-cute at the musical and kisses…. and Hugh definitely intrigues me as a reader. I am ready to read his romance!

Narrator: Rosalyn Landor is one of my favorite narrators. She makes any book a pleasure to hear.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: A Night Like This

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Review: The Wolf Who Loved Me by Lydia Dare

The Wolf Who Loved MeReviewed by Susan S.

Summary: Regency Werewolf Trilogy, Book One Have you ever wished for something you’ll never have? Like that Lamborghini Countach, or the eight bedroom beachside mansion. Well, Weston Hadley (hero) has grown accustomed to wishing for the unattainable. I know what you’re thinking. Pray tell, what does Hadley want that he can’t have? He wants… Lady Madeline Hayburn. What’s the idiom? If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.

Hadley’s loved Madeline for years, but all the wishing and wanting won’t alter the facts. She’s a duke’s daughter and he’s a penniless nobody. Since he can’t have her, he just plows through life with reckless abandon. Living his carefree existence of no responsibilities and total frivolity.

Until the day that Madeline sees him changing. And I don’t mean his clothes. I mean shifting from man to wolf. Causing both man and wolf to face what they’ve tried so hard to avoid… responsibility!

Musical Review: Just Let Me Be In Love by Tracy Byrd. Only difference is that Tracy sings about finding a way to mess things up, whereas Weston did that from the get-go.

Traditional Review: I enjoyed it too much when Wes absconded with Madeline. It was deliciously exciting! My heart pounded when the heroine’s father was tracking them. And surprisingly I had no problems with the hero’s beta status which I thought was going to turn me off. I found his irresponsible and fun nature enjoyable. Especially, when that very nature led to some rather disastrous events. It’s also funny that this wolf has absolutely no people skills whatsoever! None. He’s completely untamed.

I’ve grown so accustomed to Lydia Dare’s strong-willed heroines that Madeline’s weaker/pampered character took me by surprise. I would’ve preferred her to be a stronger heroine to the hero’s beta, but still applauded the times the heroine did show a backbone.

If the curiosity bug bit you-read on: You can find out how Weston got his facial scar by reading In the Heat of the Bite. I guarantee it’ll leave you speechless! It did me.

Recommendations: Like scarred heroes? Wes is such a hero.

For readers who love reckless and handsome beta wolves, the opposites attracting tropes, and the good-girl gone-bad heroines. Also for anyone who enjoys siblings teetering from conflict to camaraderie, but who at their very core are still loving and loyal.

Disclaimer: I received this novel free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

What’s Next? Wolfishly Yours. (Grayson and Liviana’s story). Grayson is Weston’s twin brother.

Review-O-Meter Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Wolf Who Loved Me

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Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc., Copyright April 2012, Historical Regency Paranormal Romance, Mass Market Paperback, Print Pages 387. ISBN# 978-1-4022-6346-0.

Review: Ten Things I Love About You (Bevelstoke, Book 3) by Julia Quinn

Heroine: Annabel Winslow, eldest sister of 8 siblings, is soon to be engaged to an overweight, short-tempered nobleman as old as her grandmother. She must agree or risk her family’s future happiness. If she does, she loses her own. But she still has time before the Earl of Newbury asks, perhaps there is another way?

Hero: Sebastian Grey firsts hears of Annabel as a woman ‘…so fertile that birds sing when she draws near.’ He knows his uncle, the Earl of Newbury, wants an heir so that he does not inherit the estate. His uncle hates him and the feeling is mutual. He does not care if he inherits or not, he just wished he knew one way or the other.

Meet Cute: A chance meeting outside in the moors at an annual house party when Annabel literally trips over Sebastian. He was just waiting for his female partner to slip back into the house party before he went in again. She was escaping his cruel, odious, groping uncle. (That lecher!  Shudder.) They flirt and then kiss. (Seb and Annabel.) Hawt.

Review: Rosalyn Landor is a wonderful narrator. She brought the characters fully to life and if you combine her talent with the author’s you have an amazing story. I loved it. Capitalize that—I LOVED IT! I was utterly charmed, just like Sebastian was with Annabel. The story is sweet, the sexual tension sizzling, the romance was just perfect. Sebastian is making it to my favorite hero list (which shouldn’t surprise him, he loves lists… and so does the heroine). (Now I have more than one Seb to love, bwuahahaha!)

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Ten Things I Love About You

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Review: The Secret Mistress (Dudley, Book 3) by Mary Balogh

I listened to a narrated audiobook version of this novel. Read by Anne Flosnik.

Hero: Edward Ailsbury, the new Earl of Heyward, knows he must marry. As a spare, now heir, he knows the importance of preserving the family lineage. The candidate he has in mind is his family friend and favorite bluestocking, Eunice Goddard. A wife should be a friend, someone intelligent that one can converse with, and a lady unblemished by scandal or wild behavior, but when the lady refuses him, he’s flummoxed. What now? Well, his family wants him to court Angeline Dudley and so he does. He’s flummoxed again when he realizes that the scandalous Miss at the inn is none other than she!

Heroine: Angeline Dudley is preparing for her first Season. She’s determined to catch herself a simple steady gentleman, a man completely opposite her rakish brothers and father (now passed away). A potentially scandalous incident at a public inn reveals to her just such a man and it’s instant attraction for her. All she wants is his good opinion and his love, but it seems to be the thing he’s determined to hold back. She suspects his interested lie elsewhere and does all in her power to bring them together, for his sake and Eunice’s sake (who becomes her friend).

Review: I really liked the pairing of a stuffy, circumspect, and introverted hero (who doesn’t think he is and takes offense when he’s called on it) with a bubbly, impulsive, and extroverted heroine (who rambles and says things to upset the hero… like calling him a dry stick :D lol).

He’s extremely dignified and extends politeness and courtesy as a shield. She prattles to fill uncomfortable silences and makes jokes at her expense to hide her insecurity. Angeline feels she doesn’t deserve him and her innocent behavior appears to be reckless behavior.

I also thought it was incredibly sweet that the heroine put the hero’s desire so far above her own she tried to orchestrate opportunities for him to meet Eunice in hopes he’d propose to her. There were lots of great quotes in the story, my favorite is below.

Favorite Scenes: Their first meeting at the inn, and Edward’s first proposal to Angeline.

Favorite Quote:

In a few short minutes he had shown himself to be her ideal of manhood. Of gentlemanhood. He seemed perfectly content and comfortable with his ordinariness. He seemed not to feel the need to posture and prove his masculinity at every turn preferably with his fists… He was in fact, more than ordinary. He was an extraordinary man.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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Review: Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith Quartet, Book 1) by Julia Quinn

Ah, those dreaded Smythe-Smiths! they lack any musical talent and yet they persist in destroying the hearing of the London ton with their dreaded annual musical quartets.

Heroine: Lady Honoria Smythe-Smith plays the violin and she’s awful, but at least she knows it. This year she’s determined to marry and get a man to come up to scratch because she’s ready for a family and home of her own.

She’s one of my new favorite heroines. You got to love a girl willing to contrive the following plot to snag a man: steal a shovel, create a mole hole, pretend to fall in it and cry out for help! Of course the only man watching all this is the hero. Haha.

Hero: Marcus Holroyd is the Earl of Chatteris. He loves chocolate and desserts as much as Honoria. (There’s lots of cute food moments for any foodies out there.) A long time friend of the family, he’s been petitioned by Honoria’s brother Daniel to make sure she doesn’t wed some idiot. Lately he’s coming to find that the only acceptable match for her is him!

Marcus is a fabulous beta hero. One of his best moment’s is coming to Honoria’s defense right at the end of the book. I’d jump his bones!

Trope: Friends to Lovers. If you know me, I hate this trope, but I actually enjoyed it this time. That’s because neither one of them pined for the other growing up. There was no little girl crush or secret school girl crush on Honoria’s behalf for Marcus and he certainly only saw her as Daniel’s little sister – that is until he gets dreadfully sick and Honoria forces her mother to come with her to his family estate and attend to him. You see, Marcus is an only child and has no living family. That’s why he’s always loved the Smythe-Smiths – there’s so many of them that he could slip into their lives and be part of their family.

Dislikes: The long focus on Marcus sickness – as a book I could skim it and get through it faster but as an audio book it seemed to last forever and is the book’s only serious downer.

Narrator: Speaking of the narrator – she was excellent!

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Just Like Heaven

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